Form 8 Visit Westminster
Posted on 20th Jan, 2020
Year 8, along with Mr Richards, Mr Cotterill and Ms Biddell, visited the Palace of Westminster, where the Mother of Parliaments has been wearing itself out with the mother of all battles over Brexit.
The blood had been mopped off the floor in time for our tour, which began in the venerable Westminster Hall, vast relic of the old palace from the time of William Rufus. Under the astonishing sixty-foot span of its mediaeval hammer-beam roof we stood and shivered, where once sat an unhappy Charles I, on trial in the similarly chilly January that was to be his last. On then through St Stephen’s Chapel, once the debating chamber of Parliament, to the Central Court. Within and without Charles Barry’s grand but elderly palace is receiving piecemeal desperate treatment to keep it alive through its second century.
In one short walk through the centre of the Palace we covered the three elements of Parliament: the Royal, as manifested in the Robing Room of red and gold (where the Queen prepares for her eponymous speech) and the Royal Gallery with its vast paintings of the Death of Nelson and Waterloo; the Lords in its red grandeur; and the homely green-seated Commons. (As photography is not permitted in the Chambers we have no pictures of the boys sprawling on the Woolsack or picking up the Mace and being arrested by the Serjeant-at-Arms.) We only saw two identifiable MPs: the Honourable Member for Sevenoaks and our own Anneliese Dodds, who kindly came to talk to us (three days after meeting us at school) as we ended our tour back in Westminster Hall.
Lunch in St James’ Park was followed by a visit to the Cabinet War Rooms, the basement bunker where Churchill and his Cabinet and staff kept up the good fight when weather got a bit stormy upstairs. A quick gander at Number 10 then back home to see on television our MP speaking from the front bench we had just walked past. It is good to live in a reasonably small country where such a visit encompassing Government past and present is possible - and be back for tea.