Victoria Tower

The Victoria Tower is the square tower at the south-west end of the Palace of Westminster in London, facing south and west onto Black Rod's Garden and Old Palace Yard. At 98.5 metres (323 ft), it is slightly taller than the more famous Elizabeth Tower - Big Ben (formerly known as the Clock Tower) at the north end of the Palace (96.3 metres (316 ft)). It houses the Parliamentary Archives in archive conditions meeting the BS 5454 standard, on 12 floors. All 14 floors of the building were originally linked via a single wrought-iron Victorian staircase of 553 steps, of which five floors survive.

The main entrance at the base of the tower is the Sovereign's Entrance, through which the Monarch passes at the State Opening of Parliament. On top of the Victoria Tower is an iron flagstaff from which flies the Union Flag or, when the Sovereign is present in the Palace, the Royal Standard. The flag used to be flown only on days when either House of Parliament sat, but since January 2010 it has been flown every day.

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    Resignedly beneath the sky
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