Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SAD DAY FOR LONDON'S LOVELY BIG BEN

I am a little sad that we won't hear our beloved Big Ben's 'bongs' for a couple of years.  This is due to a controversial renovation project that will stop it ringing out for up to four years. Hundreds of MPs and parliamentary workers gathered in the courtyards to listen as the Great Bell chimed noon before being stopped to allow work to begin.


Since 1979 when I first worked in Parliament, I had always been fascinated with the history of the Palace of Westminster and particularly its restoration work completed around 1860 and the great bell itself: couldn't wait to get up to the little turret in Elizabeth Tower (previously known as the Clock Tower) for a close-up. Must admit, it was a little noisy, but loved the charm and chime of the place. These images were taken twenty years ago and here is a view from my window.

A clock tower was first built at Westminster in 1288 with, it is thought, money raised in fines levied on Ralph Hengham, a judge who was found guilty of misconduct. The present tower, designed by Augustus Pugin, was part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834. The present clock was installed in 1859.

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