The Somerset House derived its name from the palatial palace built on this site during the 16th century by Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset. After he was executed on Tower Hill in 1552, the estate was used by various queen consorts. Somerset Palace was demolished in 1775 to make way for this neoclassical government building designed by Sir William Chambers. Construction continued until 1819. Additional wings were added through 1856. After the building suffered damage during WWII, a renovation project by Sir Albert Richardson required 11 years to complete. Today, it houses an art and cultural center while the courtyard is a venue for summer concerts and a winter ice rink. The main entrance faces a boulevard called The Strand. This backside view is from across the River Thames.