Our buildings shape us

On this day in 1941, a German air raid destroyed the House of Commons chamber at Westminster.

 Winston Churchill insisted that the chamber be re-built in its old size and form, which is too small to seat all MPs.  Churchill was against “giving each member a desk to sit at and a lid to bang”, leaving the House largely empty most of the time.

 Churchill believed that, at critical votes and moments in the nation’s history, the House should fill beyond capacity, with members spilling out into the aisles, creating a suitable “sense of crowd and urgency”.