President's Piping at the House of Lords - December 2013
President’s Piping at the House of Lords
On Thursday 12 December our President Baroness Joyce Quin invited pipers and guests to the River Room of the House of Lords for a very different President’s Day. About three dozen pipers and their guests from all around the country were able to be there, and were welcomed by President Joyce and the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords Baroness D’Souza. We enjoyed playing some sets that had been devised for the occasion by Francis Wood and Susan Craven to include well known favourites, and were treated to solos by Richard Cooper and Adrian Schofield. During the day President Joyce showed groups of us around both Houses of Parliament. It was a really special occasion and we are very grateful for her generous hospitality - we hope she enjoyed the occasion as much as we did!
The content of our tours varied depending on what was open to visitors at different times during the afternoon - some pipers and guests saw inside the debating chambers of the Houses of Commons and Lords; some saw a statue with a sword that had to be broken to remove a chained sufragette; some saw Westminster Hall, where many memorable historical events have taken place and on that day was being used for a commemoration of Nelson Mandela's life attended by local schoolchildren and community representatives; some even went to the basements to see the cupboard where Emily Wilding Davison, our Morpeth sufragette, hid overnight to claim residency one census night - and it was a fascinating tour for all. I think we all noted how small the Central Hall between the Houses is really, compared to the impression TV gives us! We very much appreciated the time that President Joyce gave to show us all around - and the extra tour she led at 8pm when the reception was finished, to make sure no-one missed the experience! Photography was restricted inside - so here we see some of our tourists on the terrace - President Joyce, Dorothy Cragg, Lindy Turner, John Gibbons, Gisele Soinne and Francis Wood.
Adrian gave us a beautiful rendition of the Coolin -
and then his special version of The Keel Row learned from a dodgy tape!
Photos and Videos by Gracie Grey and Edric Ellis