Big Ben | Celebrating the world-famous clock tower
CHANNEL | Home Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 14 July 1958
DURATION | 4 minutes 3 seconds
In this extract from a programme chaired by Claude Bourdet, guests share the feelings evoked by the sound of Big Ben. For certain contributors, especially those who had faced oppression in Nazi-occupied Europe, World War II has given this sound new resonance. Hearing Big Ben's chimes on the radio during the war raised morale and, in later years, the sound seemed more sacred for reminding people of what they had survived.
Ginette Spanier (1904-1988) was best known as director of the Paris fashion house Pierre Balmain. Alain Bombard (1924-2005) was a French physician, biologist and politician who sailed solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1952 on a research expedition. Writer Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) took inspiration for her work from her renowned upper-class background.
How the Big Ben chimes were first recorded for broadcast by the BBC.
Nancy Mitford and others comment on the sound of Big Ben.
Valerie Singleton outlines the history of the world famous clock.
'The World at One' reports on the maintenance of Big Ben.
Repairs to the great Westminster clock are completed.
Peter Duncan cleans the face of Big Ben.
A view inside Britain's world famous Houses of Parliament.
Frosty weather has a chilling effect on the bell chimes.
Big Ben has lost its bong.
A wish to see and hear Big Ben up close comes true.
Photographs of Big Ben dating back to the 1920s.
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