Westminster Hall, London

Westminster Hall is one of the few parts of the medieval Palace of Westminster to survive. The rest has succumbed to time, rebuilding or the great fire of 1834. The current Houses of Parliament are the Victorian replacements built between 1835 and 1870. Westminster Hall itself dates back to 1097 but the famous (and magnificent) hammerbeam roof dates to 1393.

The hall has been carefully looked after, repaired and restored and is completely free of any graffiti visible to the casual visitor. However, there are two arches opposite the door to the gift shop that are made of original stonework and carry what the interpretation board calls masons’ marks. Some of these undoubtedly are masons’ marks with the characteristic crisp lines and general air of being completed by someone who knows how to handle a hammer and chisel. Other marks are decidedly less competently made and I think stray into graffiti territory. There is one mark that looks like a vulva that I very much doubt was masons’ mark as opposed to a piece of graffiti made by a mason.

Report by: Anthea Hawdon

Westminster Hall is part of the Houses of Parliament tours.

Search terms: mason’s marks, butterfly cross, cross crosslet, vulva, axe, saltire, triangle, triangle and star