Далее: Unit V. Before reading Вверх: Методические рекомендации Назад: Unit III. Before reading

Unit IV. Before reading the text concentrate on the following points

  1. What do you know about Westminster?
  2. What sights are there?
  3. Would you like to visit Westminster?


Westminster is another central and important part of London. Most governmental buildings are situated there. On the left bank of the Thames is Westminster Palace, famous as the Houses of Parliament. It is the seat of the British Parliament. The Clock Tower with the hour-bell called “Big Ben” is known the world


The Houses of Parliament


The Houses of Parliament constitute perhaps the most popular and widely spread image of London, known and recognized throughout the whole world. In this famous palace are also many meeting halls and various parliamentary offices.

The Palace of Westminster, together with Victoria Tower and the Clock Tower — which houses the most famous clock in the world, Big Ben — form an unmistakable architectural complex. But the Towers and the Houses of Parliament are not only associated architecturally, but also in the democratic spirit that rules the political life developed in the House of Commons, for, if Parliament is sitting — British parliamentary debates constitute an exemplary political spectacle — the flag flies on top of Victoria Tower during the whole day. If the debates go on during tin-night — which quite often happens in the dynamic parliamentary life of Great Britain, especially if matters highly important for the nation are being discussed — a light burns above Big Ben in the Clock Tower. This light at night and the flag during the day-time signal for the people of London that the members of Parliament, each from his own political point of view, are watching over nation’s interests.

The Houses of Parliament can be visited by the public. The entrance is through the door located at the foot of Victoria Tower and next to the Royal Arch. Visitors start at the Royal Gallery and then go to the House of Lords. Here there is the historical Woolsack, where the Lord Chancellor takes his place to preside over the sittings. From here, visitors proceed towards the Central Corridor, crossing the Antechamber of the Lords. The historical frescoes that decorate the walls of the Central Corridor are very interesting. Passing from here visitors arrive at the Antechamber Commons and then continue to the actual Commons itself.

At the end of the House of Commons is the Speaker’s Chair, on right side of which the members of the parliamentary majority sit. The members of the groups that form the Opposition sit on the left, directly facing the Government benches. Another interesting point in the Houses of Parliament is Stephen’s Hall, which is decorated with very valuable frescos. From St. Stephen’s Hall one reaches Westminster Hall. It is one of the oldest buildings in London.

Vocabulary Notes

The Houses of Parliament – парламент

The Palace of Westminster – Вестминстерский дворец

Victoria Tower – Башня Виктории

The House of Commons – палата общин

The Royal Arch – королевская Арка

The House of Lords – палата лордов

Woolsack – набитая шерстью подушка, на которой сидит председатель в палате лордов.

Lord Chancellor – Лорд Канцлер

Antechamber — вестибюль

Speaker’s Chair – кресло Спикера

Westminster Hall – Вестминстер-Хол


Why this bell is called “Big Ben”? When the great bell was cast in London foundry in 1858, the question of its name was discussed in Parliament. One member said, “Why not call it Big Ben?”

The famous Clock Tower houses Big Ben – the clock named after Sir Benjamin Hall under whose direction the construction of the clock took place.

From that time the bell has been known as Big Ben. The bell is 7 foot 6 inches high, and 9 foot 6 inches across the mouth. It weighs 13.5 tons (about the same as two double-decker buses). Big Ben is the name of the bell only — not the clock, and not the tower. People call the clock Big Ben, but the name really belongs to the bell on which the clock strikes the hours.

Vocabulary Notes

Sir Benjamin Hall – Сэр Бенджамин Холл

Foundry – литейная, литейный цех



It is safe to say that the three most famous buildings in England are Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The great glory of Westminster is, of course, the Abbey. It is a fine Gothic building, which stands opposite the Houses of Parliament. It is the work of many hands and different ages.

Ancient tradition claims that St. Peter founded the first church here, but the Abbey's 900 years of existence since its dedication go back to Edward the Confessor. Henry III rebuilt the earlier church and the present building dates from his reign. If you have never visited the Abbey before, try to go in slowly and look about carefully. For the immediate effect, as you follow the wonderfully vaulted roof along the length of the nave, is a startling and breathtaking beauty. There is an element of greatness here that is not just concerned with size and height.

Westminster Abbey is a church where the kings and queens are crowned and famous people are buried. Founded by Edward the Confessor in 1050, the Abbey was a monastery for a long time. The present building dates largely from the time of Henry III who began to rebuild the church, that task lasted nearly 300 years. The West towers were added in the 18th century. Since William I almost every English monarch has been crowned in this great church. One of the greatest treasures of the Abbey is the oaken Coronation Chair made in 1300.

Near the West Door of the Abbey there is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a symbol of the nation’s grief. This monument commemorates the men who died in the First World War.

Vocabulary Notes

Westminster Abbey — Вестминстерское Аббатство

Edward the Confessor – король Эдуард Исповедник

Vaulted – сводчатый

Nave — неф, корабль

Startle — сильно удивлять, пугать

William I – Вильгельм I Завоеватель

The Coronation Chair – трон для коронации

Westminster Abbey



Westminster Abbey is noted for its Poets’ Corner, containing memorials to famous poets and dramatists. Many visitors to the Abbey are attracted to Poets’ Corner, with its memorials to great men of letters. Many outstanding statesmen, painters, writers and poets are buried there. Among them are Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and others. Geoffrey Chaucer, who is buried in the Abbey, is remembered here. So are Spenser, Dryden, Ben Jonson, and John Milton. There are also memorials to William Shakespeare, Burns, George Byron, Walter Scott, and William Thackeray and to the American poet Henry Longfellow. A full length statue of Shakespeare was erected in 1741, and just opposite is a monument to the actor David Garrick. He is aptly shown parting the curtains. Dr Johnson is represented with a magnificent bust by Nollekens, and there is a remarkable rendering of Blake’s life-mask by Epstein.

Vocabulary Notes

Poets’ Corner – Уголок поэтов

Aptly – подходяще, удачно

Rendering — воспроизведение

Thomas Hardy – Томас Гарди

Geoffrey Chaucer – Джефри Чосер (поэт)


The street called Whitehall stretches from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. Just as Westminster or the Palace of Westminster frequently stands for the Houses of Parliament, so Whitehall is often used as a name for the Civil Service.

Downing Street, which is a small side street off Whitehall, is the home of the Prime Minister, who lives at number ten. Next door at number eleven lives the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is responsible for financial planning and the British economy. Just around the corner in Whitehall itself are all the important ministries: the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defense, the Home Office and the Treasury.

In the middle of Whitehall is the Cenotaph where the Queen lays the first wreath of poppies on Remembrance Day. On that day each year the people of Britain remember their dead from the two world wars of this century by wearing a red paper poppy.

Vocabulary Notes

Whitehall – Уайт-Холл

Civil Service — государственная служба (аппарат не меняется при смене правительства)

Chancellor of the Exchequer — канц­лер казначейства, министр финансов

Foreign Office — Министерство иностранных дел

Ministry of Defense — Министерство обороны

Home Office — Министерство внутренних дел

Treasury — казначейство, Мини­стерство финансов

Cenotaph — Кенотаф (обелиск в Лондоне на улице Уайт-Холл, воздвигнут в 1920 в честь погибших во время первой мировой вой­ны)

Wreath of poppies — венок (гирлянда) из цветов мака


Scotland Yard is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London. To most people, its name immediately brings to mind the picture of a detective — cool, collected, efficient, ready to track down any criminal with complete confidence that he will bring him to justice, or a helmeted police-constable — that fami­liar figure of the London scene and trusty helper of every travel­ler from overseas.

Scotland Yard is situated on the Thames Embankment close to the Houses of Parliament and the familiar clock tower of Big Ben, and its jurisdiction extends over 740 square miles with the exception of the ancient City of London, which possesses its own separate Police force.

One of the most successful developments in Scotland Yard’s crime detection and emergency service has been the “999 sys­tem”. On receipt of a call 999 Room operator ascertains by electro­nic device the position of the nearest available police car, which is contacted by radio. Almost instantly, a message is also sent by teleprinter to the police stations concerned, so that within seconds of a call for assistance being received, a police car is on its way to the scene and all neighbouring police stations have been noti­fied.

Apart from the 999 Room, one of the most interesting places in Scotland Yard is the Map Room. Here is the General Crime Map, the Deaths by Violence Map, the Accidents Map and the Vehicles Recovered Map. An old-established section of the Metropolitan Police is the Mounted Branch, with its strength of about 200 horses stabled at strategic points. These horses are particularly suited to ceremonial occasions, for they are accustomed to military bands.

An interesting branch of Scotland Yard is the branch of Police Dogs, first used as an experiment in 1938. Now these dogs are an important part of the Force. One dog, for example, can search a warehouse in ten minutes, whereas the same search would take six men an hour.

There is also the River Police, or Thames Division, which has its own crime investigation officers who handle all crimes occurring within its river boundaries.

There are two other departments of Scotland Yard — the Witness Room (known as the Rogues’ Gallery) where a photographic record of known or suspected criminals is kept, and the Museum, which contains murder relics, forgery exhibits and coining moulds.

The name “Scotland Yard” originates from the plot of land adjoining Whitehall Palace where, in about the 14th century, the royalty and nobility of Scotland stayed when visiting the English Court. The popular nickname of the London policeman “bobby” is a tribute to Sir Robert Peel, who introduced the police force in 1829.

Vocabulary Notes

Scotland Yard – Скотленд-Ярд

Teleprinter – телеграфный аппарат

Headquarters — штаб-квартира

Metropolitan Police — столичная по­лиция

Police force — полиция, отделение полиции

Crime detection — обнаружение пре­ступлений

Emergency service — аварийная служба

Investigation – расследование, (научное) исследование

Concern — заниматься, интересоваться (чем-либо)

Mounted Branch — отделение конной полиции

English Court — английский суд

Reading Comprehension Exercises

  1. Answer the questions.
    1. What do you know about the Palace of Westminster?
    2. Where is it situated?
    3. What governmental office is there?
    4. Why the hour bell in Clock Tower is called ”Big Ben”?
    5. What can you say about the two Houses of Parliament?
    6. What is Westminster Abbey famous for?
    7. What prominent people are buried there?
    8. What important administrative and governmental offices are there in Whitehall?
    9. What is in Downing Street at number ten?
    10. Who occupies this house now?
    11. What is Scotland Yard?
    12. Where is it situated?
  2. Ask your fellow-students the questions to find out:
    1. If he is interested in the Tower of London?
    2. What particular place he would like to visit?
    3. If he has read any information about Scotland Yard?

Grammar Exercises

  1. Make the verbs in the following sentences passive.
    1. They have offered me a job at a local bank.
    2. Have you warned them about the meeting?
    3. Someone has stolen a picture from a museum.
    4. I have lost some secret papers.
    5. We have kept this meat in the fridge for a week.
    6. The police have found a dead body in the park.
    7. They had packed the suitcases when the bellboy arrived.
    8. They had sold the famous house to an American before I learnt about it.
    9. I didn't attend the meeting because you hadn't warned me.
    10. The room looked dirty because we hadn't cleaned it for a week.
    11. They will clear up the situation when they have known some more facts.
    12. They will have repaired my shoes by the evening.
  2. Change the tense forms of the verbs in the following sentences using different adverbial modifiers. Models: The letter was delivered yesterday. (just) — The letter has just been delivered. The work was completed on Monday. (by Monday) — The work had been completed by Monday.
    1. Her things were packed an hour ago. (already)
    2. They were shown the house yesterday. (in an hour)
    3. Tickets to the theatre are booked well in advance. (tomorrow)
    4. The letter will be sent by fax. (just)
    5. The house will be repaired next year. (by September)
    6. This hotel is run by Mrs. White. (for the last two years)
    7. Has this book been published yet? (last May)
    8. The room is cleaned every morning. (now)
    9. I was I was told the story when I saw them. (already)
    10. All important documents are kept in the safe. (all these years)
  3. Make these sentences passive. Model: You can do it tomorrow. — It can be done tomorrow.
    1. She could book the ticket later.
    2. Can I serve the tea now?
    3. I can't answer this difficult question.
    4. You can understand this phrase in different ways.
    5. He may forget your invitation.
    6. He might take us to the airport in this car.
    7. You must speak only English in class.
    8. Small children must know traffic rules.
    9. You mustn't disturb father when he works.
    10. We have to translate this text today.
    11. You should remember this telephone number.
    12. You ought to improve your English.

Lexical Exercises

  1. Translate into Russian.
    1. The Barbican Centre, which has opened in the City of London, is an enormous complex of important artistic and cultural amenities. It includes two theatres, an art gallery, a Sculpture court, a library, three cinemas, two restaurants and two exhibition halls. The Centre has finally opened after seventeen years' discussion and planning. A number of British painters and architects were commissioned to design the complex. It was officially started in 1970, and then the complex was expected to cost 19 million pounds sterling. When it was opened by the Queen on the 3rd of March, 1982, the final cost was 150 million pounds sterling. There are two resident companies — the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Barbican. They will be providing a good part of the programme for theatre-goers. At the same time, there will be a variety of art exhibitions, musical events, cultural events and other entertainments. The building itself is very interesting: it is built on eight levels, four of which are underground. On the fifth level is the lake, complete with 45 fountains, and a terrace where you can have coffee. Parts of the building are still being completed, but it is open to the public now and definitely worth a visit.
    2. “The Rolling Stones” are a unique pop group. Their first concert took place as early as 1963. “The Stones” have broken the law of rock music, that no one comes back more powerful a second time. “The Stones” have expressed in their music and sometimes in their actions many of society’s present ideas and the views held by some contemporary youth. Their music-became personal and social anthems for many people. However they did not advocate positive life-styles. For most of the time their performances are cheerless. They offer no words of salvation, few crumbs of comfort. Much of their music and some of their style speak decadence.
  2. Complete the sentences with the prepositions.
    1. Scotland Yard is the headquarters ... the Metropolitan Police ... London.
    2. ... most people, its name immediately brings ... mind the picture ... a detective – cool, collected, efficient, ready to track down any criminal.
    3. Scotland Yard is situated ... the Thames Embankment close ... the Houses ... Parliament and the clock tower ... Big Ben.
    4. The name «Scotland Yard» originates ... the plot ... land adjoining Whitehall Palace where ... about the 14th century, the royalty and nobility ... Scotland stayed when visiting the English Court.
    5. The popular nickname ... the London policeman “bobby” is a tribute ... Sir Robert Peel, who introduced the police force ... 1829, and whose Christian name attached itself ... members ... the force.
  3. Translate into English.
    1. Вестминстер – центральная часть Лондона, где расположено большинство правительственных зданий.
    2. Вестминстерский дворец, башня Виктории и часовая башня формируют великолепный архитектурный комплекс – Парламент.
    3. На часовой башне расположен знаменитый Биг Бен.
    4. Вестминстерское Аббатство – это церковь, где были коронованы монархи и похоронены знаменитые люди.
    5. Основанное в 1050 году королем Эдуардом Исповедником, Аббатство долгое время было монастырем.
    6. В Вестминстерском Аббатстве находится знаменитый уголок поэтов, который содержит мемориалы знаменитым поэтам и драматургам.
    7. В Вестминстерском Аббатстве находится могила Неизвестного солдата.
    8. Улица Уайт-Холл простирается от Парламентской площади до Трафальгарской.
    9. Скотленд-Ярд находится на набережной реки Темзы рядом с Парламентом.
    10. В середине улицы Уайт-Холл находится Кенотаф.

Conversation and Discussion

  1. The “999 system” is one of the most successful developments in Scotland Yard’s crime detection and emergency ser­vice. How does it work? Why does this system operate so successfully? What have you come to know about Scotland Yard from films and books? What is the name of the most famous English crime detector? What can you tell about his acti­vities?
  2. Many visitors of the Abbey are attracted to Poets' Corner. What memorials to great men of letters are there in the Abbey? What centuries did most of them live in? So, you see that British people cherish the memory of their great men of letters for several centuries. Why are they doing so? Is it necessary to keep the memory of the past for the sake of their future? What do you think about it?
  3. From the text about Whitehall you learnt how the British people remember their dead from the two world wars. Do Russian people also keep the memory of the fallen heroes? How do they do it? Can you give any examples?
  4. Can you be sure that your parents know rather well the members of their families that are their family trees? Who and what were your grandparents? Can you say anything about your great-grandparents? Why should people know their genealogi­cal tree? How can you explain it?
  5. Some people think that the monarchy should be abolished because it has no power and it costs the State a lot of money to maintain. How useful do you think is the monarchy in Britain today?

Далее: Unit V. Before reading Вверх: Методические рекомендации Назад: Unit III. Before reading

ЯГПУ, Отдел образовательных информационных технологий