Cliddesden Primary School

Learning Together, Growing Together

Cliddesden Primary School, Cliddesden, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG25 2QU

01256 321571 - Fax: 01256 3336

Oak Class visit The Clink Prison and Houses of Parliament

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On Tuesday 25th February, Oak Class went to London, to visit the Clink and the Houses of Parliament, to finish our History topic of Crime and Punishment.
The Clink was once a prison, run by the Bishop of Winchester.  It was opened in the 12th Century and operated until the 18th Century.  The nickname 'Clink' comes from the noise that was made by the prison blacksmith attaching chains to the prisoners when they entered the gaol.  We found out that many poorer prisoners did not survive their stay in the Clink; they would have had to pay for food, water and even their chains.  Conditions in the prison were not good: prisoners had to use a bucket in the corner of the room as their toilet and rats infested the cells.  Some prisoners even ate the rats as they could not afford food.  We also learnt about the types of punishment that were given to those who were found guilty of breaking the Bishop of Winchester's laws.
After lunch, we travelled to the Houses of Parliament to discover how our modern-day laws were made.  We were given a tour of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and our tour guides explained how the two Houses create laws and check those laws.  We were very lucky to see both processes in action, watching debates on tax avoidance and the proposed HS2 rail link.  We also got a chance to see Westminster Hall, where (amongst other people) Guy Fawkes was tried.  Once we had seen the Palace of Westminster, we returned to the education centre, where we learnt about the suffragettes and how they had struggled to get the vote for women.  At the end of the session, we had a chance to meet the MP for North East Hampshire, Ranil Jayawardena.  The children got to ask him some interesting and thoughtful questions before we had to leave.
Although it was a long day, we all learnt something new and felt very privileged to have been able to visit the parliament buildings.