So Wednesday 14th January 2015 saw me leave work early and head over to Parliament (I should say how lucky I am that work let me go early) to discuss my blog and also get a bit more of an insight into my dissertation topic!
I am extremely lucky that my blog has allowed me to do that, and whilst I know you can write to your MPs and get to go around Parliament, or sometimes schools take their students, I know it isn’t an everyday thing, and I am so grateful to have had the experience!
So when I arrived, I got checked in (for any of you that haven’t been to Parliament, this is a bit like security check in at the Airport), there was quite a big queue to get in (the security guards said there nearly always is, but apparently that Wednesday was particularly busy as lots of charities were in Parliament having meetings with various MPs!).
After getting my security pass, I met Stephen McPartland the MP for Stevenage. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of what I was going to be doing whilst I was there, but I had the best time. I got taken on a bit of a tour around the Houses of Parliament, and it was amazing! There is so much history and so many amazing things to see that I would definitely recommend going or trying to go on one of the tours that they offer!
I know so many of you asked me to take photos, and I did want to, but I also just wanted to enjoy the experience, so hopefully when I go again I will take some photos for you all! There were other people walking around taking photos so it shouldn’t be a problem!
So some of the things I saw… I went out on the Terrace which backs on to the Thames, it is an amazing view of London, the River and also just how spectacular the Houses of Parliament are.
As a little girl who grew up so close to London we regularly went in to London to have a walk around, sight see (and more often than not go shopping!), and I always loved seeing Big Ben and the famous London Landmarks. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are spectacular buildings but up close they are even more amazing.
I was able to stand in one of the court yards and look directly up Big Ben, it is just incredible!
I also was able to have a walk around the corridors and one of them had the most amazing art work, it was full of paintings of famous historical events in Britain, including a picture depicting the Magna Carta.
I went into Westminster Hall, and whilst there were quite a few other people and groups in there, it is also strangely quiet. It is beautiful though, high intricate ceilings and very plain walls but it spectacular. I was lucky enough to be told so much history whilst walking around the Houses of Parliament in general, but in particular about Westminster Hall. I stood where the Queen stands, but also where other famous people have spoken, as well as where significant Royal Family Members and some Prime Ministers have laid-in-state. I saw a placard on the floor for the Queen Mother which was particularly memorable as she lay-in-state from my birthday (5th April).
I walked around a number of corridors, it is a maze, and I got to see some underneath passageways, inside one of the offices, I saw a board with the Victoria Cross on. I saw the Scotland Yard lamp and gates, as well as see the change in coloured carpet of the green and red.
There is so much I saw, and I will put up some other blog posts for you in due course!
The tour around was definitely a highlight (particularly as it wasn’t expected), one of things I noticed most was how friendly, and un-pompous it was walking around. Everyone was so friendly to each other and people’s guests. It was really welcoming and though I was nervous, I felt very relaxed in there.
I was taken for tea, in a bar in the Houses of Parliament (situated near the House of Lords entrance), you can’t book tables and whilst you get served to your table it is all very relaxed, and I was able to spend time talking about parliament, law, my blog and also Psychiatric Injury (my dissertation topic), as well as the life of an MP.
I was able to talk to different people that were there and got introduced, and I definitely felt very grown up!
I was able to get an insight into a very ‘hidden from the public’ world, and I learnt an awful lot.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Stephen McPartland for giving up his time. I am going to put up another post about talking about my blog, and some of the things that really surprised me about my visit, but I am conscious that this post is already really long, and a tad jumbled (partly because I still can’t believe I got to go and walk around!)