The Houses of Parliament suffered bomb damage during World War II and the northern end of the building which contained the 19th century Chamber of the House of Commons was destroyed. The new Chamber is quite austere in comparison to the House of Lords’ Chamber.
The Chamber is only 46 ft (14 metres) wide and 68 ft (21 Metres) long. The Members’ benches are upholstered in green and face each other down the length of the Chamber. The ‘wooden’ Strangers’ Gallery runs around the upper part of the Chamber with the walls panelled in wood.
At one end is the Speaker’s Chair given by Australia and the Clerks’ table is in the centre between the two banks of benches. On the table are two despatch boxes given by New Zealand on which Members are often seen leaning when delivering their speeches.
The Chamber has seating for only 427 of the 650 Members. During Prime Minister’s Question Time and major debates the unseated members have to stand at the back of the Chamber. Government Members sit on the Speaker’s right and Opposition Members on the left.
When Divisions are called bells ring throughout the building and outside in the grounds, even in the tunnel leading from Westminster Underground Tube Station to warn Members that they must hurry up and get into the Chamber to deliver their vote.
By tradition the Queen does not enter the Chamber of the House of Commons. The last monarch to do so was King Charles I and we all know what happened to him!
The Palace of Westminster (Parliament) website has an excellent downloadable map showing the layout of the different parts of the Parliament as well as Public transport options Web:UK Parliament Map & Transport