After meeting Doorkeepers Rob and Sam as they rushed around looking after MPs and guests at the Lancashire Day celebrations in Parliament we knew they would be perfect Hotter comfort testers. Their elegant, traditional uniforms are finished off with smart, black shoes which, with the miles they walk each day, really do need to be comfortable.
If you have never met a Doorkeeper then here's a glimpse into their world amongst the historic corridors of the House of Commons in London's Palace of Westminster, which is visited each year by 2.5m people.
Security is Key
With their principal role the security of the House of Commons, each of the 36 doorkeepers is armed with an "Eye-spy" book of the 650 MPs they need to recognise. "Traditionally the reigning monarch is not allowed to set foot in the House of Commons, and as the police serve the monarch they are also barred from the Chamber, leaving us to control security," explained Sam Howlett, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the traditions of the Palace has been cultivated in 15 years working in a job she passionately enjoys. "We need to identify every MP as we need to know who is supposed to be in certain locations and we undertake the same officer safety training as the police as we may have to restrain and remove any members of the public challenging security."
'Hats off strangers'
Even if you haven't heard of Doorkeepers you're sure to know Black Rod who has the door of the Commons slammed in his face when he represents the monarch at the opening of Parliament. He is the head of Doorkeepers for the House of Lords who undertake the same role as Sam and Rob and their colleagues but in the very ornate and red hued corridors of the Lords. Over in the Commons, with its more unadorned passageways and green shades of upholstery and carpeting, the Doorkeepers keep order, assist the public and support major state
occasions. Every day that MPs sit the Doorkeepers' Serjeant at Arms carries the Mace into the Chamber, processing through the building with the Speaker and his chaplain, arriving at the Central Lobby to the cry 'hats off strangers' before starting the day's proceedings.
"I love working here, there is something new every day and the history and tradition is so special," explained Rob Bartram who has worked at the Palace for 22 years, and as a Doorkeeper for four. He shook hands with President Obama when he visited and he's been part of visits by both the Pope and Dalai Lama.
The Crown Jewels
The role of Doorkeeper dates back to the 1300s, when the Palace was used as a court and their duty was as prison guards. Over time they became 'badge messengers' from Parliament to the King. "Each Doorkeeper still has a numbered badge, which is engraved with the date it was crafted," explained Sam who is only the third woman to have become a Doorkeeper and, with her 15 years' service, is currently the longest serving woman holding the post. "Each badge is kept securely in the Palace overnight, and is stored at St James Palace if we are on holiday or recess. Badges numbered 1 and 2 are kept in the Tower of London as they are all part of the Crown Jewels."
Sam, who used to work in banking, and Rob, who plays bass in a punk band, are soon to be joined by two new Doorkeepers - although competition for this historic role is keen with nearly 700 applicants.
And their view on their Hotter shoes... Sam, who suffers from arthritis was surprised to discover that she could wear her Valetta heels all day and they could still be so comfortable. With many of his colleagues wearing traditional hand made shoes, some made to measure and fitted with ornate buckles, Rob couldn't believe how light his Road shoes were. Both are still enjoying their comfort testing experience!
Valetta is a versatile Hotter favourite which this summer comes in five shades including neutral Soft Beige and Satin Nickel as well as
the rich hues of Grape Juice in Suede and Patent. With soft padding, flexible and lightweight soles Valetta is great for work, on nights out or for special occasions.
Oozing Hotter's classic styling, Road is a business-like shoe that incorporates everything that Hotter does best - removable
insoles, soft padding, gentle arch support and high quality leather uppers. Road is one of several men's styles that can be worn for smarter occasions and as work wear.
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Registered Office: Hotter, 2 Peel Road, West Pimbo, Skelmersdale, WN8 9PT. Company Registration Number: 641365 VAT number 918 434 905
Hotter is a registered trademark of Beaconsfield Footwear Limited. ® Hotter - All rights reserved 2018 Registered Office: Hotter, 2 Peel Road, West Pimbo, Skelmersdale, WN8 9PT. Company Registration Number: 641365 VAT number 918 434 905