Passageway in the British Parliament constructed for the coronation of King Charles II was recently rediscovered, UK officials said on February 26. The passage which was not accessed by anybody for more than 70 years was discovered during the renovation work in the Parliament complex, international media reported. The palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both House of Commons and House of Lords.
🚪🔑 A door to the past: historians working on the restoration of the Palace of Westminster have uncovered a 17th century passageway into the original @HouseofCommons Chamber. pic.twitter.com/LCCqdxCc4x— UK Parliament (@UKParliament) February 26, 2020
The passage which was created for the coronation banquet of King Charles II in 1661 and was bricked up in 1807. It was hidden behind a small wooden door that most people assumed contained an electricity cupboard and therefore it remained untouched, international media reported.
🔨 Masons and bricklayers blocked it up in the 1850s, leaving their names in graffiti on the walls. Our researchers were able to trace them in the 1851 census returns. pic.twitter.com/7Y9tCt1uC7— UK Parliament (@UKParliament) February 26, 2020
According to media reports, the rediscovered passage was most likely used by the country’s senior political figures including diarist Samuel Pepys and Britain's first effective prime minister, Robert Walpole. The narrow passage lead right out the Westminster hall which was the only building that survived a major fire in 1834.
During the rebuilding of the parliament building after the fire, the passage was reopened. However, it was closed again in 1851. According to media reports, Graffiti by the 19th-century bricklayers was still found on the walls including the one which read "This room was enclosed by Tom Porter who was very fond of Ould Ale (beer)." Following the First World War, workers dealing with the damages of the war installed an electric light and small access door.