Academic Enrichment News |

History & Politics trip to London – 26th September 2023

27 Sep 2023

By Euan M, Year 12

The day started off very early meeting at Darlington station at just after 8 o’clock, where we eagerly waited our train to London. After a relaxed journey, we were then led by Mr Bradbury through the Underground system to Westminster, and this is where we spent all of our day in London. We had a little time before our slot in the Churchill War rooms, so we had a sunny walk around Whitehall, passing Downing Street and to Horse Guards Parade, through St James Park and then finally to the Mall.

We then made our way back to the fascinating Churchill War rooms, where we were given personal tour guide devices which gave detailed information about each room or artefact we were looking at. The war rooms are truly amazing as they are presented just the way they were left after the end of the World War II. Around the half way stage, there is a museum entirely dedicated to Churchill himself which contains everything from his horse racing shirt to a gifted sub-machine gun. This part was definitely my favourite, after an unhappy childhood, he led a fascinating his life. It was a sobering thought to us youngsters that Churchill did not become Prime Minister till he was 65 years of age! We also saw the map room, where all the maps had the locator pins left in, just as they were in the 1940s when Churchill and his comrades were tirelessly working down there during the war.

Our next stop was the Houses of Parliament. We waited outside, full of excitement, before being greeted by our tour guides Emit and Lauren. After having a quick briefing, we then went through airport style security where we had to hand in our phones. We were promised that this was the safest place in England that is open to the public! After doing this we moved  from the education facility in to the Houses of Parliament itself, but we were stopped by Mrs Campbell who had organised for the MP for our constituency that school is in to come and see us. Dehenna Davison and our guides led us to the magnificent Westminster Hall, where we then had a Q&A session. It was fascinating listening to how, as a young A level Politics student herself, she became determined to get into Politics. After finishing the Q&A, we then begun our tour of Parliament which was very interesting. Highlights including standing on the floor of the House of Commons right next to the dispatch boxes where PMQs is held every Wednesday. We stood over the exact spot where the 36 barrels of gunpowder were found during the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. At the end of the tour, we participated in a workshop in which we learned about how bills are passed into law. We held a debate,  done in the same style as Parliament does,  with Joe Green being our Speaker and keeping order. The debate was on whether the death penalty should be legalised and their was some fascinating arguments from both sides with Mrs Campbell wincing at some of the points being made! At the end of this workshop, we then made our way back across a busy, warm London to King Cross where we had a little time to ourselves to get something to eat before getting the train home. This trip was very interesting, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Mrs Campbell and Mr Bradbury taking us and taking time out of their week.