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Guide to the Nichols family collection on the Palace of Westminster
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection is comprised of items found within The History of the Ancient Palace and Late Houses of Parliament at Westminster : Embracing Accounts and Illustrations of St. Stephen's Chapel, and its cloisters, - Westminster Hall, - The Court of Requests, - The Painted Chamber , by Edward Wedlake Brayley, and John Britton. Material includes correspondences, documents and illustrated plates from circa 1650 to 1905. The original book that contained these items is also housed within the collection. All of the plates feature views of Westminster from different publications and years. The correspondence includes items addressed to historically significant individuals or persons related to the history of the Westminster or the production of the book. Highlights include correspondences to John Bowyer Nichols, the printer of the book; from Charles Barry, the son of the architect who rebuilt the Parliament and Westminster; to Dr. Reverend Kippis, a noted British Historian and author; from Sir John Cam Hobhouse, British Member of Parliament and friend of the poet Lord Byron.
Background
John Nichols (1745-1826): John Nichols was apprenticed to printer William Bowyer in 1757 and took over that business in 1777. Among his noteworthy accomplishments was being editor of Gentleman’s Magazine and some of the most lengthy and complete antiquarian county histories. Additionally he worked with Abraham Farley in on the 300th anniversary edition of the Domesday Book. Nichols created a special font for the edition, which was unfortunately destroyed in a workshop fire in 1808. Also, he held the office of Master of the Stationer’s Company in 1804. Nichols’ son, John Bowyer Nichols, and grandson, John Gough Nichols, continued the printing business which is considered today to be one of the best documented printing houses of its time in England.Palace at Westminster: The Palace at Westminster began as a royal palace in the eleventh century and was the primary residence in London for the Kings of England and for Parliament until a fire in 1512 that destroyed much of the residential area and the King Henry VIII moved the royal family to Whitehall Palace. After, it served only as the meeting space for the Parliament, and various other judicial courts and various other functions. In 1834 much of the medieval building burned in a devastating fire . Sir Charles Barry won the competition to rebuild the site in the popular Perpendicular Gothic style. The replacement was much larger, including over 8 acres of reclaimed land along the Thames River, and incorporated those areas not destroyed in the fire. This reconstruction began in 1840 and lasted for 30 years. Since then there has been considerable restoration of the soft sandstone used to build the structure due to the effects of London’s pollution, The House of Commons had to be rebuilt after it was destroyed in a 1941 German bombing of London. Areas of note in the structure are those that survived the 1834 fire: Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St. Stephen’s, the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft and the Jewel Tower.
Extent
1.5 linear feet (1 flat storage box, 1 phase box)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
Availability
This collection is open for research.