Eastnor Castle was rebuilt by the first Earl Somers from 1810. He commissioned Robert Smirke, who used an authoritative, symmetrical design to give it the appearance of a medieval fortress. 250 men worked around the clock for six years; upon completion in 1820 it had cost almost £86,000 (£8.5 million today).
Sir Robert Smirke was an important neoclassical architect, designing buildings inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, and rejecting the frills of rococo and baroque architecture. He designed The British Museum, completed in the 1850s, which had a floor area of 600,000 square feet in four wings arranged around an open quadrangle.
Augustus Welby Pugin received his training from his architect father. In 1836 he published a book entitled Contrasts, which connected the quality of a society with the calibre of its architecture. A Roman Catholic from 1835, he designed many churches across the country and pioneered the Gothic revival witnessed in England and abroad.
The Church of St Giles at Cheadle was built between 1840 and 1846. The interior is highly decorative with painted stonework and tiled floors. The font is similar to that at another Pugin building, St Augustine's in Ramsgate, with a rising and falling perpendicular top and heavily carved base.
Sir Charles Barry travelled around Europe and the Middle East studying architecture. Other than Westminster Palace, Barry built the Travellers and Reform Clubs in London, King Edward's School in Birmingham (built in the perpendicular Gothic style), the Athenaeum in Manchester and Halifax Town Hall. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
The Palace of Westminster was first built for Edward the Confessor. It was enlarged by William the Conqueror and was a royal palace until a fire in 1512. A further fire in 1834 destroyed most of the palace, and Barry's building opened in 1860. The Commons Chamber was bombed in the Blitz but was restored perfectly.
Big Ben is housed in St Stephen's Tower. The bell weighs over 13 tons and arrived at the tower pulled by 16 horses. It is reputedly named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the commissioner of works at the time of its construction. Installed in 1859, a crack prevented it from ringing until 1862.
The term 'Gothic revival' describes medieval-style buildings erected in the mid 19th century. It coincided with religious revivals of the time and a number of churches were built in the Gothic style. Its most influential exponent in England was John Ruskin, who gave the movement a moral and intellectual purpose.