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The House of Lords

Is a room ornamented with the tapestry which records our victory over the Spanish Armada. It was bespoken by the earl of Nottingham, lord high admiral, and commander in chief on the glorious day. The earl sold it to James I. The design was drawn by Cornelius Vroom, and the tapestry executed by Francis Spiering. Vroom had 100 pieces of gold for his labour. The arras itself cost 1,628l. It was not put up till the year 1650, two years after the suspension of monarchy, when the house of lords was used as a committee room for the house of commons. The heads of the naval heroes who commanded on the glorious days, form a matchless border round the work, animating posterity to emulate their illustrious example. In the prince's chamber, where the royal authority puts on the robes, on coming to the house of lords, is a curious old tapestry, representing the birth of queen Elizabeth. Ann Bullen in her bed. An attendant on one side, and a nurse with the child on the other. The story is a little broken into by the loss of a piece of the arras, cut to make a passage for the door.

The room in which the peers now assemble is oblong, not quite so large as the house of commons. It is furnished with a throne for the king, and appropriate seats for the various members.

That court of justice, so tremendous in the Tudor and part of the Stuart reign, the Star Chamber, still keeps its name, which was not taken from the stars with which its roof is said to have been painted (which were obliterated even before the reign of queen Elizabeth,) but from the Starra, or Jewish covenants, which were deposited there by order of Richard I. in chests under three locks. No Starr was allowed to be valid except found in those repositories: here they remained till the banishment of the Jews by Edward I. It was situated on the south side of New Palace Yard, in the old building on the banks of the Thames.

The room now called the Painted Chamber, is used as the place of conference between the Lords and Commons. It makes a very poor appearance, being hung with very ancient French or arras tapestry, which, by the names worked over the figures, seems to relate to the Trojan war. Numbers of other great apartments are still preserved, on each side of the entrance into Westminster Hall, in the law court of Exchequer, and adjacent: and the same in the money Exchequer, and the duchy of Lancaster; all these were portions of the ancient palace.

Close to Old Palace Yard, is the vault or cellar called Guy Faux's Cellar, in which the conspirators of 1605 lodged the barrels of gunpowder, designed at one blow to annihilate the three estates of the realm, in parliament assembled. To this day, the manner in which Providence directed the discovery is unknown. The plot evidently was confined to a few persons of desperate zeal and wickedness; but there is much mystery about the whole affair, which now is never likely to be cleared up. The ceremony of examining the vaults at the beginning of every session, is still continued: it takes place in the presence of the usher of the black rod; yeomen, &c.

Other London Buildings:

St. James's Palace

Buckingham House Palace

Carlton House

Kensington Palace

Lambeth Palace

St. James's Park

The Green Park

Hyde Park

The Regent's Park

Westminster Hall

The House of Lords

House of Commons

Courts of Justice

Tower of London

The New Mint

The Monument

Mansion House

The Bank of England

The Royal Exchange

The Auction Mart

Trinity House

New Custom House

Excise Office

General Post Office


Temple Bar

The Adelphi

Somerset House

Charing Cross

Horse Guards

The Treasury

Admiralty Office


King's Mews

New Court House, or Westminster Guildhall

Northumberland House

General List of other Noblemen's Residences

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819