Educational Visit to the Houses of Parliament

On the 30th of April, our sixth form students were treated to a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, kindly reserved for them by our local MP, Mr Gareth Thomas.

On a rainy and windy day it was nice to be inside this magnificent building.

The Palace of Westminster is a Royal Palace, although nowadays used only by the Parliament. The Queen is legally forbidden to enter it as a sign of acknowledgement and respect for the sovereignty of Parliament. Only on occasion of the annual Queen’s Speech, usually in November, the Queen is admitted to those areas which are marked by a special blue carpet. After wearing her Royal Robes and the Crown Jewels in the beautiful Dressing Room the Queen walks on the blue carpet to the House of Lords where she presents the Government’s legislative programme for  the year to both Houses.

The Palace of Westminster was burned down in 1800. Very little is left of the original building,but Westminster Hall being one of the few places left intact.

This imposing medieval hall with beautiful and intricate beam sis the place where significant figures of British history, such as Churchill, lay in state for the public to pay their respect. We visited the Chamber where MPs  debate and conduct their proceedings and also visited the two lobbies, the Yes lobby and the No lobby, where the MPs have to go to cast their vote.

We went through the corridors and galleries of the Parliament, all adorned with beautiful paintings. Specially impressive were the murals of the battles of Waterloo and Trafalgar, not just for their beauty, but because the artist wanted to show not the celebrations but the pain and the suffering of war.

It was a very educational tour, which took us closer to understanding how precious our democracy is and how much work goes into shaping our political life.