|Houses of Parliament
|Bob and Big Ben
Click on player below to hear Big Ben chime for the last time before falling silent for repairs in 2017.
|(Left) Charles Bradlaugh being arrested (Right) Bradlaugh takes his seat in Parliament
From 1886, he was allowed to take his seat and, in 1888, the law was changed to permit non-believers to affirm, instead of swearing on the Bible. Bradlaugh was a great campaigner for the independence of India, 60 years before it actually happened. He died in 1891 at the age of 57.
When speaking to somebody on their cell phone, the caller these days never really knows where the other person is. That is why Members of Parliament today love it when Big Ben chimes during their telephone conversations with constituents. It proves to the public that they are hard at work in their office in the Palace of Westminster and are not merely spending their time in some restaurant or bar elsewhere.
There is doubtless much more for me to say about the technical aspects of this remarkable piece of engineering, but let me instead conclude as I began. It is the emotion within one that is generated by the sound of those chimes that is so special.
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on April 9, 2009.