One of the delights of being a member of the Thorney Island Society is that we visit places that are not normally open to the public. On this memorable visit we we were shown around the hallowed crimson-tinted state rooms of the Speaker of the House of Commons. 

The walls are festooned with magnificent portraits of previous Speakers ranging from Lord Addington (the only one to be both Speaker and Prime Minister) to the present incumbent John Bercow who has broken with tradition by having an action/working portrait of himself in the Chair rather than a formal one in state robes.

Among the highlights were an impressive dining room and a magnificent bed which heirs to the throne have the right to sleep in before their Coronation if they so wish but which hasn’t been used since George lll, quite possibly because, as our guide discreetly pointed out, it is not ensuite. However, in the same room, a large standing mirror is used by the Queen when she dresses for the State Opening of Parliament.

These are formal state rooms in which the spirit of Pugin, who designed the interior, is apparent everywhere, though he never lived to see it for himself. The rooms can only be visited with the permission of the Speaker and his family actually live in separate accommodation upstairs. Our sincere thanks to the Speaker and his Trainbearer, our excellent guide Jim Davey.


Visit to The Speakers House - April 2019