HC Deb 11 July 1859 vol 154 cc972-3

asked the First Commissioner of Works what was the reason why only two faces of the clock in the clock-tower were now made use of? Also, whether there had been any late correspondence between the maker of the clock and the architect of the Houses of Parliament or the Board of Works; and, if so, whether there was any objection to lay such correspondence before the House?


said, that the reason why only two dials of the clock were now made use of was that the minute hands, together with the counterpoises which had been ordered for the clock-tower, were subsequently found to be too heavy to be worked. The difficulty had arisen from the divided jurisdiction of the architect of the Palace and the maker of the clock. The weight originally proposed for the minute hand was 2 cwt.; but the material having been altered and gun metal used, the weight was increased to 3 cwt. outside the dial, with the addition of 4 cwt. of counterpoise within the clock-room. The consequence was that the total weight was 7 cwt. instead of 2 cwt. Instructions had been given to Mr. Dent, the maker of the clock, to construct minute hands and counterpoises of a proper weight. Some correspondence had taken place between the architect and the Department on the subject, but it did not throw much light on the subject, and he did not think it would be worth while to read it.