HC Deb 03 March 1859 vol 152 cc1173-4

said he wished to ask the Chief Commissioner of Works whether the Bells are now all fixed in the Clock Tower; whether the Works of the Clock have also been placed there; when the Clock will be in working order; and the total expense of the Clock?


said, he would read the House two letters which he had received on the subject. The first was from Sir Charles Barry, dated Old Palace Yard, March 2. In reply to your letter of this day's date, I have to inform you that the bells of the great clock at the New Palace, at Westminster, were hoisted as soon as they were approved by the referees appointed to judge of their tone and quality, and have been fixed more than three months. With respect to the clock, I am unable to say what progress has been made with it, or when it may be completed; but Mr. E. B. Denison, under whose sole superintendence the manufacture and supply of it is placed, will, doubtless, be able to afford the information which the First Commisioner of Her Majesty's Works requires respecting it. I am, &c. CHARLES BARRY. Mr. Denison in his letter said.— The answer to the first part of the question you have sent me is that the bells have been fixed in the Clock Tower; but they are now let down a little, to enable some pieces to be put into the frame, of the nature of diagonal braces to strengthen it against the shake caused by the blow of the great hammer. The clock is not fixed because the clock room will not be ready for it until the weight shaft is properly covered over, and the pendulum-room constructed in it, and an enclosed passage made through the air-shaft to give access from the clock-room to the west dial works. This must also be made of iron, because the air-shaft is, in fact, a chimney: and it must be made carefully, so as to be air-tight, or else the fumes of the ventilating fire will come into the clock-room. I am assured that the clock-room will be ready for the clock in a week, and that the bell frame will be finished very soon, and therefore I see no reason why the clock should not drive the hands and be striking in a few months. He would endeavour to ascertain whether he could give the further information asked for by the hon. Member.