Visit to Westminster
What colour are the seats in the House of Lords? What is the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament called, and is Larry the Downing Street cat at home? All these questions and more were answered as students from the British Values Team and Student Voice journeyed to Westminster to discover more about the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.
As it is ‘Her Majesty’s’ Government, students began with a visit to Buckingham Palace. A large crowd had gathered and the groups was just in time to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, before heading for Parliament and the Education Centre, which hosts more than 100,000 school and college students visiting each year.
Security was tight to enter the Palace of Westminster, as tour guide Emily took the group on a tour which included both chambers, the central lobby, St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall.
Returning to the Education Centre students learnt more about the history of Parliament and then took part in a workshop which introduced the students to issues of campaigning and debating. Using immersive projection technology the students enjoyed recreations of a protest in 1908 by suffragettes in the House of Commons, and an attempt to gain access to the House of Lords in 1739 by the Duchess of Queensbury.
After leaving Parliament there was one other important destination for the students to see. Walking up Downing Street they saw the entrance to Number 10, the Prime Minister’s residence, and number 11, the home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sadly this time, Larry, the Downing Street cat was not seeing visitors.
Returning to the station there was one more exciting opportunity for students as a limousine, flanked by police outriders sped past in the direction of Whitehall. Could it have been the Prime Minister?