Big Ben, the worlds most famous clock tower, is located in the Palace of Westminster which held British Parliament sessions. It was named for Sir Benjamin Hall, who at the time of its completion in 1859 was the Parliamentary Commissioner of Works and known for his noble ranking. Big Ben has been fully operational since September 7, 1859. The old Palace of Westminster was greatly destroyed by fire in 1834, Charles Berry was given the task to rebuild it. In his designs of the Palace he included a clock tower.
Charles Berry was born in London in 1795. At a young age he apprenticed a London surveyor, but when his father died Barry was left a heirloom which allowed him to travel throughout France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Syria, and Egypt. While doing this, he studied buildings and made architectural drawings. During his return to England, Berry began designing churches for the church Jekel 2
commissioners, and by doing this he found that he would rather design in Gothic and Greek styles. His Italian background strongly influences his designs in not only Gothic and Greek styles, but other styles as well.
During the re-building of the Palace, much of what was not destroyed by the fire was incorporated in the new Gothic architectural design of the building. Barry, along with his engineer Alfred Meeson, were in charge of designing scaffolding, hoists, and cranes that were used in the construction. There was a major problem for Barry that came up during an appointment on April 1, 1840 with Dr. David Boswell Reid, the ventilation expert. Reid made big demands that changed the buildings design, which lead to delays in construction. By 1845, Barry refused to communicate with Reid other than in writing. One of the results to his demands was the adding of on the Central Tower. The tower was designed to act as a huge chimney which would draw fresh air throughout the building. The building of the
Palace of Westminster was overdue....