Thames Path: The Palace of Westminster

More photos today from last Thursday’s walk along the Thames Path in London.  Before my expat life, I worked in Westminster.  It feels good now to walk around as a tourist, without worrying about deadlines.  Despite that, my attention was focused on that area’s biggest and most famous clock.

The passengers in the capsules of the London Eye must have had a great view of the Houses of Parliament, even on a grey day.

Houses of Parliament and London Eye

Quick facts about our Parliament: The entire building, containing both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, is called the Palace of Westminster.  The tower with the famous clock was officially named the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.  But, to most people, the clock and the tower will always be known as “Big Ben”, a nickname first given to the largest bell inside the tower.

As you can see from the next photo of the clockfaces, I had been closer to Big Ben earlier that morning.

Big Ben 2 clock faces

Which was the first time, after all these years, that I had actually noticed the Latin words below the clock face. “Domine Salvam Fac Reginam Nostram Victoriam Primam”  means “Lord Keep Safe Our Queen Victoria the First”.  Victoria was the monarch at the time of the construction of the tower in 1858.

words below clock face

The emblem of Parliament is a crowned portcullis.  You can see the portcullis in the stonework above.  And if you look back at the first photo, the office building known as Portcullis House just scrapes in to the right corner of the picture.  Here are some examples of the Parliamentary emblem from a book and a glass I have at home.  (I promise I have them legitimately and didn’t just steal them from the Houses of Parliament!)

Erskine May and glass


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Karolyn – that was the best history lesson- must have walked by Big Ben so many times and never knew any of this- thanks


  2. Karolyn Cooper says:

    We’re both excused for not knowing about the 2012 name for the tower, while we were learning about India instead.


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