Nearly 30 consorts of Paviors participated in a tour of the Palace of Westminster on Friday 20 January 2017. ​

The group gathered in the Escoffier Restaurant in the Vincent rooms, where Mistress Pavior Tessa Lumsden had organized a delicious four-course lunch with matching wines before the tour. The meal was created by Westminster Kingsway College’s second and third-year Chef Students, and served by Hospitality Students and lecturers. The Maitre de Richard gave an interesting explanation of the Vincent Rooms complex that includes the college, a primary school and a church, and explained the workings of the catering college. During the lunch, the Mistress Pavior made a speech referring to the highs and lows of her year.

After lunch, Jim McNaught and Ted Conlin, both Door-Keepers In the Office of Black Rod, then explained the itinerary and took us on the short walk to Westminster. We were then escorted through an extensive and very interesting tour of the Palace. Most of the building dates from the Victorian times, but bomb damage in the Second World War has led to some more recent modifications.

Starting in the ancient and enormous Westminster Hall, we were guided through one thousand years of history. We saw the Norman Porch and the Central, Members’ and ‘Aye’ Lobbies. We visited the Royal Gallery and the Robing Room, where the Monarch puts on the Imperial Crown and ceremonial robes prior to the State Opening of Parliament. We also visited the Prince’s Chamber and St Stephen’s Hall, along with several other chambers and libraries. A highlight of the visit was to step inside the Houses of the Commons and the Lords, with their respective green and red furnishings. Neither house was sitting that afternoon, but we were not permitted to sit on the benches. We were told about the Churchill Arch, rebuilt from bomb-scarred stone, which leads to the Commons Chamber. Here, new members of parliament traditionally touch the foot of the statue of Churchill or Lloyd George for luck before making their maiden speech.

During the visit, the fascinating traditions and customs of past and modern day politics were explained, and we saw amazing architecture and decoration. The event proved to be a really interesting and enjoyable afternoon. ​The Photographic Archive contains some images taken at this event and may be seen by clicking here