The new House of Commons, designed by Charles Barry, retained the changes that had been made to Smirke’s temporary chamber, including the introduction of a second division lobby. Nevertheless, the basic format of St Stephen’s Chapel – whereby Government and Opposition MPs faced each other across the aisle – endured. The chamber was finished with Gothic furnishings designed by A. W. N. Pugin, in contrast to the Baroque decoration of the old House.
The new chamber was ready for trial sittings of the Commons by May 1850. However, MPs criticised the acoustics of the new House, and Barry was forced to make further changes.
Image: ‘The New House of Commons, Westminster: Mr. Barry R. A., Architect’, by George Godwin, c. 1850. Monochrome engraving on paper. From George Godwin, Buildings and Monuments, Modern and Medieval: Being Illustrations of the Edifices of the 19th Century, and Some of the Architectural Works of the Middle Ages (London: The Office of ‘The Builder’, 1850), opp. p. 86.