Parliament is falling down, falling down, falling down. Parliament is falling down, my fair lady.
Yes, the Palace of Westminster—the iconic 19th century Gothic Revival landmark that currently houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom—is apparently a crumbling, antiquated disaster that needs billions of pounds’ worth of repairs, and a new parliamentary report recommends that the legislature just go ahead and vacate while they rework the place from top to bottom, the Guardian says. The price tag could top £4 billion.
The BBC sums it up: “Parts of the Palace of Westminster are so riddled with asbestos, frail stonework and ageing electrics and wiring, it has been said the Grade I-listed building would be knocked down if it was not protected.” The AP says those mechanical and electrical systems in fact date back to the 1940s. The report paints a truly dire picture, suggesting that if they don’t find the time, money, and energy for the revamp there’s a chance Parliament will find itself homeless anyway:
“It is impossible to say when this will happen, but there is a substantial and growing risk of either a single, catastrophic event, such as a major fire, or a succession of incremental failures in essential systems which would lead to Parliament no longer being able to occupy the Palace.”
Even without the apocalyptic possibilities coming to pass, the place is a goddamn mess. Via the BBC:
Lord Lisvane, formerly the most senior Commons official, added: “The roofs are leaking. The stonework is rotting. We need to do a great deal more in fire compartmentation.”
He added: “All of the facilities, whether it’s electricity, IT, comms, sewage, fresh water, high pressure steam, central heating, all of that, have just been laid one over the other.
“I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets by saying there are lots of wires, nobody is quite sure where they go.”
Doesn’t it warm your heart to think it’s not just America’s infrastructure that’s crumbling?