Seeing the House

Lord Norton

Not everyone gets a chance to visit the Palace of Westminster, a point that has been made by one or two visitors to this site.  There are some virtual tours available on the Parliament website.   Though second-best to an actual visit, some have the advantage of covering parts of the Palace not open to the public.

For anyone interested in seeing the Lords chamber and its environs, click on:

If you would like to see the Library – something visitors do not get to see – then go to:  

The Library is an important resource of the House (as it is in the Commons).  When the Palace was being built, the importance of the Library to the work of each House was recognised by siting it close to the chamber.   Each Library remains an important resource for members, having grown beyond a traditional library to encompass an important research facility.

There is also valuable educational material made available online by the Education Service.  It is geared to different age groups within the 11-18 range and can be found on the re-designed Education Service website at:

Finally, for those interested in parliamentary history, newsreel of the first televised State Opening of Parliament – in 1958 – is now available at:

It is very short but wonderfully evocative.  It formed part of the exhibition earlier this year commemorating the passage of the Life Peerages Act 1958.  It includes some shots of the new women life peers.  The commentary is priceless.

3 comments for “Seeing the House

  1. howridiculous
    30/10/2008 at 8:34 pm

    Dear Lord Norton,

    Thank you so much for posting the link to the State Opening. There was indeed than a touch of the Mr Cholmley Warner about the commentator – and the commentary.

    What also struck me especially is just how beautiful The Queen looked and what a handsome couple HM and The Duke made (and still make). The Queen’s hour-glass figure is incredible – that waist!

    More seriously, it is astounding to think just how much this country has changed in the fifty years since that film was first broadcast but also how much has stayed the same and what above all remains as magnicient now as it was then: our monarch.


  2. Lily Roberts
    31/10/2008 at 2:21 pm

    Dear Lord Norton

    Thank you for posting those links!

    Even from Australia I confess to tuning in to watch the live feeds of the debates and committee sessions.

    Although, the view of the board rooms in which the committee sessions are held, are no where near as interesting as the links you’ve kindly provided.

    Kind regards


  3. lordnorton
    02/11/2008 at 3:59 pm

    howridiculous and Lily Roberts: Thanks for the comments. I think the ceremony of State Opening certainly adds something: it is eye-catching but also has symbolic significance as the one occasion each year when Parliament – the Queen-in-Parliament – actually meets. Much has indeed changed over the past fifty years; retention of ceremonial form often masks significant political change. As howridiculous notes, there is one obvious element of continuity in the person of the Queen. Watching the Pathe News coverage of the 1958 State Opening, I tried to identify who is still alive, other than the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

    We appear to have a notable overseas readership – I know Lily Roberts is not our only Australian reader – so I plan to post other relevant links in the future.

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