Command and Control. The story of the British Capital Authority

Chapter One: Building Blocks

October 1945 10 Downing Street

Attlee sat at the centre of the cabinet table pouring over documents with a sense of melancholy. He was exhausted and slightly irritated. He had come into power promising so much and was now facing the full horror of rebuilding Britain.

He had served at the centre of power for 4 years first as Churchill's deputy then from '43 as Eden's No 2 following Winston's death from a stroke and now he was Prime Minister. The UK was devastated and now he had to lead the rebuilding. London and in particular Westminster and Whitehall had been razed to the ground. Downing Street was being held together by a combination of army surplus materials and ad-hoc construction.

Yet despite this catastrophic way of living Attlee had a vision of a new way of working. A new way of government. The title of the file in front of him read:

A New Way of Governing. The Plan for A British Capital Authority
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The British Capital Authority is the name of a new legislative centre in London. Following the example of the Australian Capital Territory the BCA will act as a hub for all government business. Westminster and Whitehall while be submerged into the BCA.

The central facets will be

1. The Houses of Parliament will be rebuilt and will be expanded by building new structures to house all MP's and Peers in their own offices. The House of Commons will be expanded to endure there is seating for all Members.

2. The new building to be known as Portcullis House and will include a specific area called "Government House" and will feature an interconnecting set of offices for various government departments and ministers as well as a central "co-ordination" room which can be used for joint discussions and also as an "incident control centre" with secure links to Downing Street and major government departments e.g. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as vital non-governmental departments such as The Bank Of England. There will also be direct links with SIS.

3. Downing Street will be directly linked via secure underground tunnels through the FCO. Likewise government departments will also be linked.

4. In the event of a national emergency the co-ordination room will be sealed on the orders of the Prime Minister and a redundant "Emergency Co-Ordination and Communications Network" (ECON) will be activated. ECON will have direct links with every City and Town Hall in the UK to direct civil responses

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"Attlee knew that the UK still had an uncertain post war future. Her finances were in disarray and the threat from the Communist East was growing. He knew that the country had to be in a state of readiness. While personally he saw the plans for the BCA as a huge drain of finances from a security and military angle he knew it had to be done"

David Reynolds "The Improbable Mr Attlee" BBC 2004
I don't see them taking down the palace of Westminster, it's too architecturally important and historically.Maybe build this new house on the other side and repurpose the original houses for something. Maybe more a imperial/commonwealth parliament.
I don't see them taking down the palace of Westminster, it's too architecturally important and historically.Maybe build this new house on the other side and repurpose the original houses for something. Maybe more a imperial/commonwealth parliament.
That depends how badly damaged it is, it is implied that Central London and Whitehall are much more damaged than OTL.


Monthly Donor
Any chance that the City of London get's city state free trade status and it's own currency (Bancor) ? It really is out of step with the wider UK economy.
God's no, that Victorian piece of faux medieval junk is hideous. Only Westminster Abby should be rebuilt in the Gothic style, with the rest build something that's both fit for purpose and actually looks good.
"Looking back it says something of British pluck and resilience how the Labour and Conservative Governments of 1945-1957 were actually able to administer the country. The Commons used rooms at Senate House Library which infuriated students at the University Of London while the Lords perhaps more fittingly used the throne room at Buckingham Palace. Fast police cars and fast drivers were on both sites to ferry legislation between one and the other in a forerunner of the Wolselys racing through a town or city during the likes of a Ealing movie or an edition of the Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre"

Andrew Marr "A History Of Britain" 2007
OTL they used County Hall when Parliament was bombed out. (And didn't that cause a stink when it was sold to the Japanese as a hotel after Maggie shut down the Greater London Council) I don't think they'd use separate sites, Buckingham palace has enough room for both houses to sit (Throne room and Banqueting hall) and the Royal family would just move permanently to Windsor Castle.
After the Palace of Westminster burnt to the ground in 1834 William IV offered Buckingham Palace to Parliament. They turned it down because it wasn't grand enough for them. Arrogant bastards.
Chapter 2: Down To Business

"Members Of The House of the Commons and Members of The House Of Lords. This is an historic moment in our illustrious history. I am proud, privileged and honoured to open this session of Parliament in its new home. A home that honours Parliament's past and sets out it's future"

The Queen October 1957