21 November 2017

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A brief overview of the history of the London Big Ben

If you think of Britain or England, along with the Millennium Dome, the Thames and the Royal Family, Big Ben or the Clock Tower in the Palace of Westminster, as it is officially known, comes to mind. The intimate, cunning shadow of the great clock, whose hourly and quarterly clocks are reflected throughout London, are the great effects this monument has on the British population, and indeed its universal appeal. Even with the cinema, which shows a shot or an insight into this magnificent piece of architecture, it is enough to convey the essence and the atmosphere of England. The real title of Big Ben is not the clock tower itself, but actually refers to the big clock bell that produces the deep and sonorous bells. Over time, this distinction wasted. But Rome was not built in one day and also no Big Ben. Among the Trivia about this British landmark, his building and his creation is a narrative story. Let us go back to the middle of the 18th century, until the year 1834, to learn about the production of the Big Ben.

History of the Big Ben

♦ The Palace of Westminster had two clock towers, before Big Ben. The first tower was built during the time of King Edward I. It was replaced by a second tower in 1397, which was replaced by a sundial in 1707.

♦ In 1834, on 16 October, the Palace of Westminster, the English Parliament of Parliament, was destroyed by fire. There was nothing more than rubble. Only Westminster Hall had managed to survive, though severely damaged.

♦ The English Parliament decided to rebuild the palace and instead of appointing a chief architect directly, decided to hold a design contest to choose from and choose from a variety of designs. The architect chose Charles Barry.

♦ Charles Barry’s award-winning design showed no clock tower, but the Parliament under pressure put it in to change its design to include a clock tower in 1836. His assistant Augustus Pugin was responsible for the construction of the clock tower. Pugin was also the ruler behind the gothic arches and interior spaces of the palace. The construction of the bell tower began in 1843 in its entirety. In contrast to normal constructions, the interior of the tower was first erected, then the exterior was formed.

♦ A clock tower needs a clock. While Barry had a vision of a big, 4-faced watch, he was not a watchmaker and none was a pug. Realizing that this part of the construction was above their expertise, they rented Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy to create the clock and process it to go into the tower. This decision to appoint a watchmaker directly to make the most significant part of the largest clock in the world (then) did not go well with the watchmakers and artisans of London. They made their displeasure very vocal and to deal with such indignation, a central body or arbitrator was appointed.

♦ This was the Royal Astronomer, Sir George Airy, who decided to play very fair and to express a specification, which the watchmaker would promise to meet, they would be commissioned to create the watch.

♦ This specification is that the first beating of the hour bell should register the time, correct it within one second per day, and also wire its power twice a day to the Greenwich Observatory where a record is kept.

♦ In view of the limited technology during this period, this seemed impossible. But Airy was very stubborn about this feature and accepted Edward Dent’s request in 1852, who agreed to make somehow such a precise and great watch.

♦ Dent designed and created the watch with the concept of escapement, which remains the main work factor behind each revolver clock. While watchmaking seemed to be good, an architectural problem appeared: there was literally no place in the tower to fit the watch. Thus the mechanism of the clock had to be modified to allow it to fit into the walls of the tower.

♦ Edward Dent died in 1853, his stepfather Frederick Dent continued to work on the clock and was completed in 1854. But it still could not be brought into the tower because the tower was not complete. So the clock was stored in Dent’s clockwork for five years until the tower was finished. During this time, tweaking and improvements were made with the watch, so a new mechanism was added. This mechanism, the double three-leg gravity inhibition, ensured complete accuracy regardless of external obstacles such as wind pressure or temperature.

♦ A clock must hit, as well as the clock tower needs bells, so everyone knows what was the time. 1 big bell for the hour, 4 bells to the clock in the quarter to an hour. The commission for the design of the great bell went to Warner of Cripplegate, who built a massive sixteen ton bell in 1856. The tower was not finished, so the bell was mounted in the New Palace Yard and struck in time intervals for testing. All this testing has finally cracked the bell in 1857!

♦ In the midst of all the fingers between the bell and the Turmmachians, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry approached the Tower Building Committee and folded the bell in 1858. It was smaller and weighed only 13 ½ tons. It was brought to the tower in great ceremony, only to discover that the tower was not yet prepared and too narrow to take the bell straight. The cunning bellmen decided to lift it aside and pull it to the bell tower, this operation lasted 30 hours. At last, in 1859, the clock tower, the clock, and the bells were all assembled and worked together.

♦ Time for the name of the bell. There are numerous theories about his naming, a being that named the bell after Benjamin Caunt, a popular bare-knuckle street boxer this time. The other personality is Sir Benjamin Hall, who was the commissioner of the works. At a meeting of Parliament, where the bell was the main theme of the discussion, he gave a long speech on the subject. As a big, strong fellow, a member of the parliament proposed to call the huge bell after Sir Benjamin. The bell is called Big Ben, the name stuck and extended to the clock tower.

♦ Disaster struck soon in October 1859, when the bell cracked again. Again, it began to show, and a lot of scrap was found on how to fix the bell. You see, this time Big Ben was fixed in the tower to repair him, they had to remove him from the tower. This was impossible because the tower was a smaller size for the actual bell. So the entire tower would have to be demolished to repair the bell.

♦ For a few months there were endless debates. But George Airy came to the rescue by demonstrating the sharpness of the spirit. He suggested that the bell should be turned by a quarter, so that the clock would hit a different place on the bell, not the cracked region. This operation led to the complete functioning of the clock in 1862. The original crack still remains on the Big Ben until today.

♦ Big Ben has remained stable and true through the time sections. In 1916, the bells were not bells and the clock dial was darkened to prevent the Germans from attacking it during the First World War. The same was repeated in 1939 to prevent the German Blitz in the Second World War.

♦ In 1976, the watch experienced a serious collapse in which the chiming mechanism, which had been exposed to wear and tear, was completely broken. The internal parts of the watch were damaged by the flying debris and a year of repair took place. Other minor incidents involve replacing certain parts such as installing an electric motor and repairing the bell.

The story of Big Ben serves to remind us how perseverance and determination of high standards are necessary when it comes to building every object of greatness.

AutoCar , London

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