That sentence caught my eye as I was leafing through an article, "Parliamentary World Heritage Sites," by James W. Macnutt, a former legislative counsel for the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly, in The Parliamentarian (go to p. 122), the magazine of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Who knew? We usually think of British parliamentary forms influencing the United States, not the other way around. The article goes on to explain:
Charleston County Courthouse today. It became the courthouse after the capital was moved to Columbia in 1796. The courthouse has been remodeled and expanded, including the addition of a third floor and the elimination of the original cupola.
[Charleston] was then the capital of one of the most sophisticated, educated and prosperous British colonies of the time.
What made the legislative building in Charleston so significant is that it employed all the principles of protocol and precedence that had their origins in ancient history as adapted and utilized by the Greeks anad the Romans. These principles were later applied in the 1850s rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the Victorian Gothic designs created by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin.
In his article Macnutt, an architectural historian, has a long list of characteristics of the old capitol in Charleston that formed the model for British parliamentary buildings. Among them are location in the urban center, neoclassical design, the second floor as the principal floor, accomodations for the governor and the legislature, and a "throne" for the presiding officer in the legislative chamber.
The Charleston building directly influenced the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia legislative buildings in Charlottetown and Halifax. These two Canadian provincial legislatures are seeking recognition of their buildings by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage Sites, and Macnutt's article states the case for this honor. The only legislative building currently on that august list is the Palace of Westminster in London.
Interestingly, articles about the old state house that I could find online said nothing about the influence on British parliamentary practice. But several pointed out that the architect of the Courthouse remodel, James Hoban, later designed the White House in Washington, D.C., and that one can find similarities between the two buildings.