Parliament Square was designed to provide a more open aspect for the new Houses of Parliament built in 1870. Parliament Square was laid out in 1868 on site of a notorious slum.
Parliament Square is dotted with statues of famous statesmen, the most notable being Winston Churchill. A statue of Abraham Lincoln sits in front of the Middlesex Guildhall , completed in 1913.
Other buildings around the square include Westminster Central Hall, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Westminster. Opposite the Houses of Parliament, across Bridge Street towards Westminster Bridge, stands the rather forbidding Portcullis House, completed in 2001. This houses government offices and Westminster Underground (Tube) Station for Jubilee Line, Central and District Lines.
The square became Britain's first official roundabout in 1926 as well as the site of the first traffic lights.
The Palace of Westminster (more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament) and Westminster Abbey including St Margaret's Church were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Site in 1987, in recognition of the outstanding universal architectural, historic and symbolic significance of this group of buildings and spaces. They are recognised internationally both as a group of buildings of outstanding architectural importance, and as a symbol of spiritual and democratic ideals throughout the world.
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