A secret doorway used for Charles II’s coronation lay forgotten for 70 years before it was recently rediscovered in the House of Commons.

The hidden walkway, which is more than 350 years old, is thought to have been used by historical figures including diarist Samuel Pepys and the first de facto Prime Minister of Great Britain Robert Walpole.

It was found again this year after investigative work by Parliament’s architecture and heritage team who have been working on Westminster’s £4 billion restoration programme.

The walkway was originally made for when Charles II came to power in 1661 and used to allow guests to enter the new king’s celebratory banquet.

MPs later used it to access the Commons, which was originally in the medieval Palace of Westminster before a fire destroyed most of its structure in the 19th century.



The only part of the palace that survived the fire was Westminster Hall, where the doorway was found.

It had been forgotten behind wooden panelling in a cloister formally used as offices by the Labour Party for decades until it was recently found, according to Commons authorities.

A brass plate had marked where the doorway had been, but historians believed it had been filled when reconstruction work took place after the palace was bombed during World War II.

Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who was pictured exploring, said: ‘To think that this walkway has been used by so many important people over the centuries is incredible.

‘I am so proud of our staff for making this discovery and I really hope this space is celebrated for what it is – a part of our parliamentary history.’

Graffiti written by bricklayers who helped architect Sir Charles Barry restore the building after the fire in 1834 was also found during the works.

One sentence of the graffiti, dated 1851, reads: ‘This room was enclosed by Tom Porter who was very fond of Ould Ale.’