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Community / Feb 2019

Profile: Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, was a celebrated army officer, a writer and an orator, however it seems he could add flexible workplace designer to his credentials.

In 1944 The House of Commons, which had been badly bombed during the Blitz of World War II, was in the process of being reconstructed.  Debate ensued over whether to make it larger to accommodate the increased number of parliamentary members, and semi-circular to mirror the trend of other legislative assemblies.  Churchill argued to recreate the chamber as it had been and was against “giving each member a desk to sit at and a lid to bang” because the House would be empty most of the time.  The new Chamber, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, was completed in 1950 along similar lines to the original.  Its small size (containing only 427 seats for 646 MPs) and opposing rectangular design helps to keep debates lively and robust but also intimate. As Churchill predicted, at critical votes and moments, it fills beyond capacity with Members spilling out into the aisles and creating a desirable “sense of crowd and urgency.”