Friday 30 May 2014

I got delayed on the underground today; someone had thrown themselves in front of a train.

I was one stop away from Westminster to have a meeting with Mark Collins, estate archivist and historian from the Houses of Parliament. As I sat there going nowhere, I remembered the ripple effect and wondered about the consequences of missing my meeting.

This could have a serious effect on my proposals. One doesn’t often blow out a meeting at Parliament! I charged around the underground, getting nowhere but only arrived 15 minutes late. Luckily Melanie was putting up a show in Portcullis House, so Mark had someone to talk to while he waited for me, and all was fine.

I ended up having a fascinating tour with Mark. He explained some of the Gothic architecture and how to ‘read’ the building. He is so knowledgeable!

After looking at various spaces and artworks with him, I just want to spend more time learning about the building. I make an appointment to go back and research with his team. Before we part, Mark takes me over to the Lords, where everything is being prepared for the State Opening of Parliament with the Queen.

Photo of Royal Gallery just prior to the Queen's arrival for the State Opening of Parliament, 2014. Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The Royal Gallery just prior to the Queen’s arrival for the State Opening of Parliament, 2014. Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The building looked spectacular. I particularly love the Pugin wallpapers. There are extreme amounts of gold; the Palace looks quite different when the extra furniture and bits and pieces are removed. It’s wonderful. I can see why people work here for a lifetime.


Wallpaper designed by AWN Pugin for the Houses of Parliament, 1848. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Come back on Thursday 8 September 2016, when Mary researches the force-feeding of suffragettes…