Big Ben | Celebrating the world-famous clock tower
CHANNEL | BBC 2
FIRST BROADCAST | 17 November 1983
DURATION | 49 minutes 16 seconds
The Palace of Westminster is the legacy of architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. They began rebuilding Parliament after a fire all but destroyed it in 1834. Constructed on a site with 800 years of political history, this comparatively small seat of government has commanded respect ever since. Contributors who pay homage in this programme include then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who drew inspiration from its designs. Meanwhile, chiming reassuringly in the background is Big Ben, the palace's crowning glory.
The two architects with their different skills made for a successful partnership. On his colleague's advice, Barry modelled Big Ben on the clock tower of Scarisbrick Hall, which Pugin had designed. In contrast, their sons were uncompromising towards each other and disagreed on their fathers' achievements. Charles Barry's son Edward assisted with the upper parts of the clock tower and carried out his father's wishes by completing the Palace of Westminster.
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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