The Building of Parliament timeline - Houses of History

The Building of Parliament timeline - Houses of History

This animated Houses of History timeline provides a fun way to explore the building of Parliament and a thousand years of British history at Westminster.

Resources quick links


The timeline shows the building of Parliament from 1099, when it was a palace in a swamp, to the opening of Portcullis House in 2000.

Students can:

  • Watch the buildings of Parliament grow out of a swamp and into the iconic landmark we know today
  • Travel through time, from 1099 to 2000, and create their own story of the building of Parliament
  • View images from Parliament's art collection which bring these historical events to life
  • Watch short animations of the building of St Stephen’s Chapel, the new Palace in Westminster designed by Charles Barry and the rebuilding after the Second World War
  • Create a project, for example, a newspaper article, with images and quotations collected from the timeline

Time required:30 minutes plus optional writing activity

Learning outcomes

All students should:

  • Follow an historical chronology of 12 significant moments in the building of Parliament, including the fire in 1834 that destroyed much of Parliament
  • Use a variety of source materials, including images, articles and quotations, to understand and interpret the past

All students could:

  • Develop informative writing skills by creating a project from a template of a newspaper article and adding images and quotations collected from the timeline
  • Read longer authoritative articles as students travel through the centuries
  • Carry out wider research by following recommended links to trusted websites to find out more about the building of Parliament
  • Take part in a writing challenge to develop skills of interpreting evidence and understanding changes that take place over a period of time

Practical information

Houses of History requires Flash version 10 or later. You can download this free software and the latest version is: Flash plug-in (link opens in a new window).

Access the Help screen by clicking the button marked '?' at the top right of the resource.

The resource is best viewed with a fast internet connection due to the number of images and animations.


Image credits

Image credits

Photo credits and copyright information for images in the Houses of History animated timeline.

pdf file - 39 KB

Links to the school curricula

Links to the school curricula

View all Houses of History curriculum links for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

pdf file - 323 KB

Writing challenge: a building for Parliament

Writing challenge: a building for Parliament

Challenge your students to write an article about the rebuilding of Parliament after the destruction of the House of Commons during the Blitz.

pdf file - 53 KB
PDF download

Related teaching resources


The Dearsley Window art resource


The Armada Paintings art resource

Parliamentary business

The UK has a rich democratic history that spans almost 1000 years