Apart in person, together in spirit

Simon Gough, © Meagen Smith, Parliamentary Archives


On Monday 23 March – the first day of UK lockdown – the Parliamentary Archives received the devastating news that a much-loved and long-standing colleague, Simon Gough, had died at the weekend. Simon’s knowledge of the contents of our repository – the Victoria Tower – was unrivalled and his fascination with our plan collection was well-known amongst staff and researchers alike.

It hit us all hard and was a cruel start to our new working from home regime, unable to be together to comfort each other or to attend his funeral a few weeks later. To his family, to celebrate Simon’s life, I sent a small mosaic star. Having picked up my mosaic nippers again I then started out on a personal lockdown project and so, at the end of each working day, I turned off my work laptop – now residing in my living room –  and set out to create 41 mosaic stars, one for each of my colleagues, no two the same, being as distinct in character as they all are themselves.

A star for Simon,
© Annie Pinder


The very nature of a mosaic is that it comprises individual tesserae (e.g. small pieces of glass or tile) brought together to form a whole. Hanging the starts together symbolised that whilst we were apart in person we were together in spirit.

The Archive collection, © Annie Pinder


By Annie Pinder, Office Manager, Parliamentary Archives

Thank you to AfL member Annie Pinder for her contribution