19 March 2024

ATW School Council visit the Houses of Parliament.

On Wednesday 13th March 2024, the member of Atwood’s School Council visited the Houses of Parliament. This is a recount, written by the School Council, of our experiences from the trip:

We started our tour at the Education Centre and made our way to the Sovereign Entrance which is the entrance the current monarch uses when he visit the Houses of Parliament. We were very excited to walk the same path that our king, and all previous monarchs since Queen Victoria, have walked. We felt like Atwood Royalty!

We stepped into a grand room, called the Robing Room. This is where the King puts on his crown and ceremonial robes before making his way to the House of Lords. This room was especially made for Queen Victoria and had the initials ‘VR’ carved and painted throughout the room. They even used real gold details through the room which was magnificent! When a member of the royal family visits, it takes three weeks to prepare the rooms for them!

As we continued, we found ourselves in the Royal Gallery which is the largest room in the Palace of Westminster. Here we saw amazing artwork, from the floor tiles and wallpaper to the wood panelling and the ceiling! There were portraits of previous monarchs and their consorts from the present day, dating all the way back to Georgian times.

Our next destination was to the Division Lobbies, also known as the ‘Aye or No Lobbies’. This is where MPs cast their vote by walking through either corridor, showing if they are in favour or against.

Through this corridor, we found ourselves in the House of Commons where we got to experience how it would feel to be a real Member of Parliament. Then, someone came in saying that everyone had to leave as they were preparing for ‘Prime Minister’s Question Time’.

We saw lots of great statues and paintings of previous Prime Ministers as we travelled through the Houses of Parliament. We reached Westminster Hall which is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate. It has previously been used for state trials (including Guy Fawkes and King Charles I!) and coronation banquets honouring new monarchs. It was one of the only buildings in parliament to survive the large fire in 1834.

Finally, we finished our tour in the House of Lords. In the House of Lords, there was a gold gilded throne that is reserved for the monarch. This room is only used for meetings with Lords and Baronesses. We learned that that Lords and Baronesses are chosen by the Prime Minister, unlike MPs who are voted for by the public.

We ended our visit with an amazing workshop about laws and debating. We were given the chance to experience how an idea turns into a law by following the journey of a bill through the House of Commons and House of Lords. We debated whether we should ban diesel and petrol cars and were able to use our debating skills and shared our different points of view. We even had a speaker, which really added to the feeling we were acting as MPs! Through frank and lively debate, a majority voted in favour to ban petrol and diesel cars that were over 14 years old!

Overall, we are so pleased that we have discovered so much about the history of the Houses of Parliament and find out about all the work of UK parliament. It’s a trip that we will definitely remember!

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Published on 19th March, 2024

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