Secret 17th-century doorway to undiscovered tunnel found under House of Commons

Secret 17th-century doorway to undiscovered tunnel found under House of Commons
UK Parliament

In a rare lighter story related to politics in 2020, a secret doorway has been discovered under London’s House of Commons.

Parliament recently revealed the discovery of a previously hidden entrance that sounds not dissimilar to the one in Best Picture winner, Parasite. It transpires it was built for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661.

The discovery came about as a result of the sterling work of Parliament’s Architecture and Heritage Team currently engaged in a huge restoration project.

Liz Hallam Smith, a professor and historical consultant for the project, said in a statement:

We were trawling through 10,000 uncatalogued documents relating to the palace at the Historic England Archives in Swindon, when we found plans for the doorway in the cloister behind Westminster Hall.

With that handy intel, the team managed to locate the hinges of two doors with a small room between them. Using a scientific practice known as dendrochronology, which studies the age of trees, they could determine the wood on the ceiling of the passage was chopped down way back in 1659.

Better still, inside the room the team found pencil graffiti left by bricklayers who’d restored the room after fire damage in 1834. One message read simply, “This room was enclosed by Tom Porter who was very fond of Ould Ale.”

It’s not exactly Bansky but it beats “Dave woz ‘ere” and shows that the British were fond of boasting about their alcohol consumption even back in the nineteenth century. Some things never change.


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