New stained-glass windows in Commons reflect UK links to OTs and Crown Dependencies
Two new stained-glass windows depicting the heraldic shields of the British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies were unveiled this week in Speaker’s House in the House of Commons.
All 16 overseas territories and the three Crown Dependencies are represented in the two windows within Speaker’s House.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the works of art, which he unveiled on Tuesday, "would be a permanent and tangible reminder of the strong and close links between the UK and its wider family”.
"In my opinion, the OTs and dependencies have been overlooked for too long - yet many of the decisions we make here in the UK have a huge impact on their futures," he said.
"They are important to me – they are part of our United Kingdom family - and I want to provide them with a platform on which to speak, to air their concerns, to share experiences and to enable us to learn from each other.”
"From now on, every single person coming into Speaker’s House will be reminded of how closely we are connected."
The windows were unveiled at a reception and dinner on Tuesday hosted by Sir Lindsay, who is a long-time supporter of Gibraltar and is Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar.
Dr John Cortes, the Minister for Education and Environment, was present at the event and posted an image of himself in front of the windows.
Reception and dinner hosted by Mr Speaker @LindsayHoyle_MP at his Residence in honour of the U.K. Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and the unveiling of the new stained glass windows depicting our crests, there for posterity. pic.twitter.com/odsqUwxIZz
— John Cortes (@cortes_john) May 9, 2023
The stained glass windows feature coats of arms from Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Ascension, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territories, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
Each of the window lancets displays the coats of arms delineated in a circle, and one lancet shows the group of arms linked by an intertwining rose and leaf pattern to the coat of arms of Sir Lindsay.
This features three Lancashire roses, bees from his home village of Adlington in Lancashire, the key of Gibraltar and a Rugby League ball.
The other group of arms is linked to those of John Evelyn Denison, the first Speaker to live in Speaker’s House (Speaker from 1857-72).
The original windows dated from 1858 and possibly contained the arms of Speaker Denison. However, those windows have long since been removed and were replaced by plain, plate glass.
The new design, created by John Reyntiens Glass Studio - the same London-based stain-glassed window specialists who recently reglazed the Big Ben clock dials with new, mouth-blown glass – is sympathetic to the original Pugin-inspired windows and décor at the entrance to Speaker’s House.
The British Virgin Islands’ Dr the Hon Natalio Wheatley said the window "acknowledged the importance of the Territory and its people" and "their contributions to our shared history and heritage."