20 Jun Walking through the ages at the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament
Written by Alesha, Siah, Vedhasa, Aarool and Eve, Year 7 and 8 Young Reporters
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to visit where the Prime Minister works? Or walk through the exact place where many historical Kings and Queens lived and died? Well, our team of Young Reporters got the opportunity to do exactly that, at two famous landmarks in London, the Houses of Parliament and The Tower of London!
It was Friday 14th June, and we were delighted the day had finally arrived, we couldn’t wait for the excitement to begin. As we skipped our way into Coventry train station, the miserable British weather was drenching the pubic, and many were scampering to take shelter as best they could. Soon though, the drizzle stopped, and the soaking wet red Virgin train came just in time. We hopped on, and busied ourselves with books and headphones. It would be about an hour before we arrived in London.
The Westminster tube station was packed, and we had to dodge our way through to make it onto the London streets, where we went straight to the nearest Tesco for a very quick, but scrumptious lunch. After a short walk, and after taking lots of selfies around the outside of the Houses of Parliament, we arrived at the Education Centre. Here we were welcomed by our tour guides, who led us through to the HQ of the Education Centre, after being checked by security of course!
By now the time was 11:00 am, and we were all eager to begin our tour through time. We were lead through to the main crossover between the famous House of Commons and House of Lords, which is where our group, soon to be historians, were split into two smaller groups so we could go our separate ways to explore. We admired the luxuriously decorated surroundings, gold furnishings and marble coated the walls, and the ambience that filled the great Hall left some of us speechless and in a daze.
Carrying on, we were all led into the House of Lords to watch the second half of a debate on health care in nursing homes. As we walked in we were instantly astounded the Queen’s Throne, which sat pretty in gold for everyone to see and admire. But we couldn’t hang around, we had the House of Commons to see, so off we went!
Do you know that…?
Currently there are about 800 members of the House of Lords and most of them are appointed as ‘life-peers’?
Members of the House of Lords include Lord Sebastian Coe (famous in Sports), and Lord John Bird (who became alone and homeless at the age of 5 and later became the co-founder of the homeless charity ‘The Big Issue’)
The House of Commons was dominated by green. It reminded us of the images you would normally see on the television and more. It was fantastic! We saw the seating area for those members of the public who wished to see a live debate, and some of us noticed that there was glass there. Our tour guide explained that it was there because back in the time of Prime Minister Blair, some members of the public threw powder paint over the balcony. Politics can be divisive after all. We completed our tour of the building by visiting the MP pigeon holes, all 650!
We then enjoyed a wonderful workshop on Representation and Voting. Our big group was split into five constituencies, where we all had to draw up a basic manifesto, and put one of us forward as a candidate for Prime Minister. It was in our group that Alesha received the most votes and was chosen to be a Prime Minister! It was an interesting insight into the way democracy works, which some of us didn’t really understand. To finish off the workshop, we got to meet a real Lord from the Houses of Lords! What an exciting opportunity!
We ended our visit to the Houses of Parliament at the steps of Westminster Hall, where we had an interesting story told to us. This particular part of the building had some refurbishment done recently, and they said that the builders found a tennis ball in the wood, so maybe King Henry VII liked a spot of tennis!
Do you know that…?
Hundreds of years ago, the kings of England were Norman French.
The word ‘parliament’ comes from the French word for ‘speak’.
‘Parley’ is an Old English word for ‘conference’.
The second part of our visit was to the highly anticipated, Tower of London! We were all eager to get inside and learn about some of the great moments in history that had happened here. When we arrived, we saw the intimidating ‘Traitor’s Gate’ right in front of our eyes! Did you know that the Traitor’s Gate was an entrance through which many prisoners of the Tudors arrived at the Tower of London?
Soon we explored the Tower (which included 4 separate pillars and 4 separate walkways of cement and brick), to find the legendary 7 Ravens of the Tower still there! Intriguingly, legend has it that John Flamsteed (the Astronomer Royal), complained about the Ravens to King Charles II. Charles, in a rage, ordered the ravenous ravens to be removed. However, one of his advisers stopped him and said that if the ravens were abolished, the monarch and the kingdom would crumble right beneath their feet!
We then went to see King Henry III’s bedroom (in the Wakefield Tower) where he slept and woke up every morning around 1000 years ago! The dilapidated ancient room still lingered with choking dust. After exiting Henry’s preserved and renovated bedroom, we ventured into the second tower via the walkway over the water. In this tower were tattered fabrics that were used in King Henry’s bedroom. When we were finished with the inside, we headed down to where Queen Anne Boleyn was executed, to stand in awe at the site where the Queen had died.
The day ended with a train back to Coventry. We were entertained with a simple and enjoyable hand game with Mrs Nguyen. There were magical moments in seeing the reporting team going off ‘technology’ and simply playing together, just like their parents used to do when they were young.