A highly topical lecture, given the current arguments about the multi-billion pound restoration planned for Westminster! The Houses of Parliament is one of the most famous and staggering buildings in the world. Its rises serenely from the Thames at Westminster, on a site which has been the centre of power and government in England from the earliest times. It is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture and a spectacular feat of civil engineering: but from the beginning, its design and construction were a battleground for its architect, Charles Barry. The practical challenges, even by the standards of Victorian invention, were immense battling the interference of MPs and royalty, coaxing and soothing the genius of his partner Pugin, fending off the mad schemes of a host of crackpot inventors and busybodies, and coming in three times over budget and twenty-four years behind schedule, this lecture will tell the story of how Charles Barry created the most famous building in Britain.