London History Day events on 31 May 2018

New Dawn contemporary light sculpture
18 April 2018

For the second London History Day on Thursday 31 May, visitors to Westminster can take part in a range of tours and events.


A choice of guided, self-guided audio and family tours are available. Find out how Parliament works as you travel through the Commons Chamber and the Lords Chamber, follow in the footsteps of the Queen at the State Opening and be inspired by Westminster Hall which is almost 1000 years old.

There is a charge for these tours although most children go free. Advance booking is recommended to secure your preferred time slot.

Vote 100 talks

This year marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed some women, and all men, to vote for the first time. We are celebrating this landmark with two talks and a display of historic documents.

The ‘New Dawn’ talks start at 12 noon and 2pm and examine the inspiration behind the contemporary light sculpture by artist Mary Branson. This incredible artwork honours all the individuals involved in the suffrage movement.

The ‘Suffragettes in Parliament’ talks start at 1pm and 3pm and highlight the militant campaign conducted by members of the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Women’s Freedom League, and how their actions impacted Parliament.

The Vote 100 talks are free and no advance booking is required. Just come to the ‘Vote 100 Talks’ meeting point in Westminster Hall before the start time.

Staff from the Parliamentary Archives will be in Westminster Hall throughout the afternoon with documents relating to the history of votes for women campaigns, from Chartists to Suffragettes.

'Big Ben: ticking through time' talks

For many people, Big Ben is 'the' symbol of London, and London History Day was chosen to be 31 May as this was date when the Great Clock first kept time in 1859.

The one hour Big Ben talks start at 10.30am and 1.30pm and cover the history and workings of this famous clock and iconic tower. After the talks, the speakers will be happy to answer questions.

The Big Ben talks are free but places are limited so tickets must be booked in advance.

How to book tickets

Tickets for tours and the Big Ben talks can be booked online or by calling our Bookings Team on 020 7219 4114 (lines open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm).

If you can’t visit Parliament on London History Day

The Parliamentary Archives will be tweeting items from their collection every hour between 10am and 4pm from @UKParlArchives.

The Parliament Archives provides access to the archives of the House of Lords, the House of Commons and to other records relating to Parliament.

More about London History Day

For London History Day on 31 May 2018, more than 70 of London's museums, galleries and cultural spaces will open their doors to reveal special behind the scenes tours, rarely seen exhibits and one off events, celebrating the capital's unique identity.

Image: 'New Dawn' contemporary light sculpture - UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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