A room with a view

I am in the process of tidying up my desk in the Lords.  Unlike MPs, peers do not have individual offices.  Instead, we are allocated desk space in a room with several other peers (if we are lucky that is – not all peers get desks).  In really small offices, there may be just two desks, but in the larger offices one can have up to ten.  I am in one of the latter.  It can get very busy when the House is sitting – it is not unusual for two or three of us still to be working at 10.00 p.m.  The picture (above left) shows my desk.  It is a fairly confined space.  However, I love it and I have the benefit of the window overlooking Westminster Abbey.

There is a notable contrast with my university office (above right).  The picture shows only my desk in what is a large room: I also have an adjoining room – my book collection became so large I had to expand; I managed to get external funding to convert the office next door and to have a hole knocked in the wall to link the two.  The office is ideal both for teaching and for research.  I can get up to fourteen students in for a class and I have shelving for several thousand books.  In the Lords, I can usually accommodate one visitor and there is no room for a bookcase.  What printed material I have is stored under the desk.   Let no one say that peers work in luxury in the Lords.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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12 Responses to A room with a view

  1. Carl.H says:

    I think Estate Agents would call it functional, my Lord. Mind you have to be careful when you go for tea what you bring back from the cafeteria…..

  2. Alfred says:

    Good one, Carl.H. and good to see you here, Lord Norton.

    I, for one, am grateful for your first explanatory post as it puts some of your comments in context. I like your optimism about the constitution, but don’t share it, because so little power has not been handed to Brussels as a ‘competence’. I hope that you are right and that I am wrong.

  3. The Duke of Waltham says:

    Perhaps Your Lordship could donate a few books to the House of Lords Library, just so that you’d be able to have access to them while in the Parliamentary Estate…

    • Lord Norton says:

      The Duke of Waltham: I am pleased to report that the library is well stocked, not least with my books (the ones I have written that is, as opposed to the ones I own). I hasten to add that I have never made a point of checking that it does have my books: it is just that books on British politics are stored in glass cases in the corridor by the Guest Room and are clearly visible.

      • The Duke of Waltham says:

        I am sure that Your Lordship is rightly proud of that. However, I hope you will not find it unkind of me to observe that, when acquiring new books, the library might be paying a little more attention to members of the legislature. (I am not necessarily saying it applies in this case, but it might be true in general terms. After all, many members of the Lords have been elevated to the Peerage by virtue of their political careers, rather than whatever books they may have written on the side.)

      • Lord Norton says:

        The Duke of Waltham: I am pleased to report that the library was purchasing my books long before I became a parliamentarian. I think my published output was certainly a factor, directly and indirectly, in my elevation.

      • The Duke of Waltham says:

        I am happy to hear that, Lord Norton.

      • Chris K says:

        On the subject of your books, Lord Norton.
        My mum, after initially being grateful for the very nice House of Lords carrier bag I brought back, was a bit cross I hadn’t explained to her that the Lord Norton of Louth I was going to see was also Philip Norton of A Level politics textbooks. Apparently I should have taken a pile of them for you to sign – she uses them for teaching.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Chris K: Glad to hear that – about your mother using my books that is, not about her being cross with you. Clearly an incentive to become a grand prize-winner again on Lords of the Blog, once we return, and you could then come to tea and bring the books with you. 🙂

  4. ladytizzy says:

    Did the copier in any way influence the framing of the first photo?

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