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Edmund Beckett Edit Profile

also known as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet and Edmund Beckett Denison, 1st Baron Grimthorpe

architect , inventor , lawyer , author

Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, known previously as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet and Edmund Beckett Denison, was an English lawyer, author, inventor, and architect. In middle and later life his chief interests were horology and ecclesiastical architecture, in both of which he became widely known, rather than his remunerative practice of parliamentary law. He created Big Ben.


When the differing plans for the proposed clock of the Victoria Tower on the Houses of Parliament were submitted in 1851, Beckett was asked to act with the Astronomer Royal as referee. He helped design the final plans for this four-dialed clock, which was set in operation in 1860. In the late 1870's, at his own expense, he undertook the restoration and rebuilding of the abbey church of St. Albans, Hertfordshire. His work there, which was not completed until 1894, aroused much adverse criticism among architects as not being authentic in style. Grimthorpe wrote interestingly in several fields.


  • books

    • Origin of the Laws of Nature, A Book on Building, Astronomy Without Mathematics, and A Treatise on Clocks, Watches and Bells.

  • clock of the Victoria Tower

    • Big Ben (1860)