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British Industrial History

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Benjamin Hall

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Benjamin Hall, Baron Llanover (1802–1867), politician

1802 Born in London the eldest son of Benjamin Hall (1778-1817), MP and ironmaster, of Hensol Castle, Glamorgan, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Richard Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, Glamorgan.

Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, but left without taking a degree.

1823 he married Augusta Waddington

1831 Returned to parliament for Monmouth boroughs as a whig, but he was unseated upon petition in the following July.

1832 Elected for the same constituency at the general election in 1832, and continued to represent Monmouth until the dissolution of parliament in July 1837.

1837 returned as a Liberal for the borough of Marylebone

1838 Hall was created a baronet.

1854 Upon the reconstruction of the General Board of Health, Hall was appointed president; he was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council in the same year.

1855 he became chief commissioner of works (without a seat in the cabinet), an office he held until Palmerston's fall in February 1858. He brought in a bill "for the better local management of the metropolis", establishing the Metropolitan Board of Works

He made strenuous efforts to restrain Charles Barry's expenditure on the new Palace of Westminster that followed the fire of 1834.

In August 1856 the bell for its clock tower, with Hall's name inscribed on it, was cast by Warners of Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees, but cracked after tests in October 1857. The substitute, cast by Mears of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, was also defective but worked sufficiently well to be hung in October 1858. The bell came to be known as Big Ben.

1859 Elevated to the House of Lords

1867 Died at his home in London


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir Benjamin Hall, ODNB