Houses of Parliament
The iconic Houses of Parliament building (also known as The Palace of Westminster) is on our TV screens most days, but have you ever wondered what it’s like inside? I did, so on Monday I took the day off work and spent a fascinating two hours inside. The tour, which takes the route the Queen walks when she attends the state opening of parliament, lasts around 1 hour 15 minutes. The other reason for my visit is in the second part of this post.
The gothic architecture we see today was designed by architect Charles Barry, who won a competition in 1835 to re-design it after a fire destroyed some of the original buildings.
My favourite parts were;
The Robing Room – this is the room where the Queen changes in to her robes and crown for the state opening. The most fascinating part of this room is Queen Victoria’s throne, which hasn’t been used, or upholstered, since Victoria last sat on it. It’s amazing to see something so old,which was sat on by someone so important in history.
The House of Lords/The House of Commons – Visitors can walk around both of these chambers, but it is forbidden to sit on any of the seats. The Queen’s throne, which she sits on during the state opening, is situated in the House of Lords. The gold that surrounds the throne is so valuable that is fenced off by a railing to stop people trying to walk of with bits of it! The House of Commons room is smaller than it appears on television, it must get very hot when it is full of politicians! The table in the middle has a ring dent in it where Winston Churchill used to bang his fist! Visitors are able to stand where David Cameron and Ed Milliband stand.
UK residents can book a free weekday tour, at least six months in advance, via their local MP. However, tickets for tours on Saturdays, or during the summer opening period, are available to both UK and Overseas visitors. Details of how to buy tickets can be found here. Security to get in is very tight and quite intimidating. It is much like security at an airport, but sadly it is needed.
The tour is fascinating but leaves you feeling exhausted, in a good way!, as there is so much history to take in!
There is so much more to share on this subject. I am currently writing an article about the tour so if you would like to read more about my experience and the history, please check back here at the end of March when there will be a link to my article.
Augustus Welby Pugin
You might be wondering where Augustus Welby Pugin fits in to this blog post.
Firstly, he was born two hundred years ago today (March 1st) so Happy Birthday Augustus!
Secondly, Augustus Pugin is thought of as one the 19th century’s most influential architects/designers/writers. He assisted Charles Barry with the drawings for his competition entry, his gothic inspired interior designs can be seen throughout the Palace and the Big Ben tower.
A list of may of the other buildings which Pugin designed can be found here
I discovered Augustus Pugin last year and did a little bit of research in to his career, with a view to writing about him around the anniversary of his birthday. I feel I probably have not done justice to him in this post so I apologise to anyone who comes across this post who is a fan of his work!
However, the reasearch I have done so far means I do have some ideas for articles related to his work. I am hoping to put those somewhere online in the near future, I will also add the links to these here too.