April 27, 2018
(Post by Poole Dick Ambassador Andrew Thorp)
According to the BBC’s Chris Mason, the Palace of Westminster is an “eight-acre jumble of buildings, courtyards, passageways and corridors.” Better known as the Houses of Parliament, this rambling 1000-room structure was the venue for a special celebration last month, which involved members of our Poole Dick team (pictured above).
The visit was a just reward for winning the People Development category at last December’s Constructing Excellence National Awards. Employees from our Manchester and Stoke offices joined the winners of other award categories to celebrate their success and many took the opportunity to tour our legislative seat of government.
Back in 2015 Michael Cockerill’s documentary ‘Inside the Commons’ provided some fascinating insights into the arcane world of Lords and Commoners. For example, Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the tower and, weighing approximately 14 tonnes, is cleaned every 5 years by some extremely brave abseilers.
There are 650 MPs in the Commons but only 427 seats so many people have to stand on special occasions like Budget Day or votes on military action. And did you know that Parliament produces 80 million printed pages a year, only slightly more than those on Paul’s desk in our Stoke office?
What of our own team’s observations? Here are just a few reflections:
So unusual to see the Thames from the House of Commons side – never imagined that I would be standing here. And to sit in the gallery of the House of Lords was a great experience, even though I’d struggle to keep awake if I had to listen to their debates!
What an amazing city London is; a well-known landmark around every corner. Our visit coincided with the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge – very sobering.
Amongst all the grandeur and history, it was good to see the Stoke-on-Trent Minton tiles in St Stephen’s Hall (apparently you can buy old worn tiles from HOP for £200/tile!).
The viewing gallery of the Lords was magnificent; the tatty piece of card with a felt-tipped number written on it, wrapped in sellotape as a ticket for our phones and bags…less so.
Scaffolding around the clock tower was impressive!