• History of the Parliament Buildings 

    St. Peter's Church Built in 1612, St. Peter’s Church, St. George’s, was the only public building large enough to serve as the meeting place for Bermuda’s first Parliament in 1620. Parliament was opened in our first capital, by Governor Nathaniel Butler, in compliance with instructions from the Somers Island Company, directing him to summon a General Assembly. This included two representatives ("the ablest and best understanding men") from each of the tribes (now called parishes) into which the colony was divided. In Governor Butler's opening speech he reminded members of their duty to God, their allegiance to the King and of the importance of "choosing and electing your own Governor here". The Gavel which is still used in parliament, was constructed from a cedar tree in St. Peter's Church courtyard, it is inscribed with the words, "This Gavel and Base was made from the Cedar Tree under which the First Assembly met at St. George 1st August 1620".

    The State Building Governor Butler oversaw the construction of Bermuda’s first stone building, the Sessions House, now known as the State House. Bermuda’s first parliament met in this one-room building from 1622 – 1815. The State House's design is phenomenal, it was constructed with Bermuda limestone rock and the mortar that was used was lemon and turtle oil. The State House is still in use today for meetings held by the Scottish Freemasons, with a cost of a peppercorn per year; this can be seen at the annual Peppercorn Ceremony.

    In 1815, Hamilton became the capital of Bermuda and with this change, Parliament moved to Hamilton, meeting in the Town Hall building on Front Street. The Town Hall building was on the upper floor of a Long Waterfront building that housed the Customs warehouse on its bottom floor.

    Sessions House In 1826, Bermuda’s Parliament moved from the Town Hall to the Sessions House on Parliament Hill, its current location. Some features of the House of Assembly are the Florentine Clock Tower, considered in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, unfortunately work was delayed for a few years. The Bermuda Jubilee Turret Clock has been housed in the tower of the Sessions House since 1893 when its four faces were illuminated by oil lamps.

    The stair well leading to the Chambers that houses the Members of Parliament, is flanked by ancient pieces of Westminster Palace statutory that were presented to the Bermuda Government in 1930. Half way up, one can see the same Morse-Brown portrait of Mrs. Aitken that was unveiled in 1994 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the political emancipation of Bermudian women. The large, rectangular room that houses the Members of Parliament, also called the "Chamber" has many interesting features. The individual desks of the 36 members, arranged in two rows on each side of the chamber so that the Government and Opposition face each other in true Westminster fashion.