Tour of Parliament - August 2016 - BCAFH
In August 2016, we had two sessions of the Parliamentary Tour, arranged by the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project (BCAFH) as part of its community workshop programme. For those who don’t know much about the project, BCAFH is an HLF-funded project that aims to showcase the significant contribution of the Chinese ex-servicemen and women who served under the British through a collection of 40 oral history interviews.
The two sessions of the tour were guided by Sir Neil Throne and coordinated by the Office of Andrew Rosindell MP. Workshop participants were combined with members of local Chinese community centres, MA students from Ming-Ai (London) Institute, and the general public sign-ups. First thing at the beginning, we met up Sir Neil at the Westminster Hall where he introduced us to the brief history of the parliament buildings and the major events happened here during the past hundreds of years. We then visited St. Stephen’s Hall and Central Lobby, Members Lobby, House of Commons Chamber, ‘no’ Commons lobby, Peers Lobby and Prince’s Chamber, House of Lords Chamber, Norman Porch, Royal Robing Room and Royal Gallery. With numbers of interesting stories and detailed explanation about the cultural, political and historical contexts of the Parliament, Sir Neil’s guide tour had given the participants some fascinating perspectives of the Parliament and the histories of British democracy. The parliament has then become a place of the ‘citizen’, which encourage the participants to think about the ideas of being part of the British society – and what does it mean to be a Member of Parliament or a civil servant?
Despite one absent, 18 people in total attended the tours and we had received very positive feedback – the overall satisfaction with the visit was very high (96% scoring Satisfactory to Very Satisfactory). And the majorities of participants orally expressed their interests in other community workshops that the BCAFH project will be hosting in the future.
Says Wendy Yang from the Camden Chinese Community Centre, ‘It was a very interesting tour, it has given me some interesting view of the Parliament’; says anonymously, ‘I would like to attend more activities which can help us to know more about the British history.' Such encouraging feedbacks reassure the Project team of the significant impacts that the project’s community initiatives could have brought out on the local communities and the public. The project is looking to arrange series of free workshops and events to the project completion, and we look forward to seeing more people to get involved and be inspired!