On Tuesday 12th September, we set off with the boys of 8S, 7S and the School Council to visit and tour the Houses of Parliament. Despite the heavy rush hour traffic we got to Parliament’s Education Centre which is nestled between the river and the House of Lords. We then quickly split in to two different tour groups and began the tour of the “Mother of all Parliaments” as one of the guides reminded us.
We started the actual visit with very strict but efficient/expected airport type security and then quickly moved on to a very educational and entertaining short film about the Story of Parliament. The short film covered its role and work and the evolution of the rights and votes of people in Britain from basically the time of Magna Carta in 1215 to the Suffragettes and on to the modern day. We then entered the House of Lords via the Monarchs Entrance which naturally the Queens uses for her annual opening of Parliament ceremony. On those occasions this entryway is lined with members of the Household Division in their best ceremonial uniforms flanking a red carpet. Sadly this didn’t happen for our group, but we still felt some awe walking the same corridors.
The different groups of boys had some varying experiences as the different guides took slightly different routes and times, but it was fascinating seeing the places where the Peers and Bishops of the House of Lords work and the MPs of the Commons (along with a huge team of clerks, Police, assistants, guides and other staff.) Every group entered the Lords and saw the red leather seats, the woolsacks and the throne of the Queen and then the Central Lobby between the Commons and the Lords where many live TV broadcasts are made from (and where Parliament has its own Post Office) and then Westminster Hall which was started by William II and is the oldest surviving part of the Palace.
It was a very memorable day for the boys and all should be congratulated on being fantastic ambassadors for the school.
Head of History