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Edmund Beckett Denison was born in 1815 and died in 1905. During his life he changed his name to Edmund Beckett when he inherited a baronetcy from his father, when he became a peer, he took the title Lord Grimthorpe. His family were bankers, MPs and railway developers. As a lawyer he was involved in parliamentary bills for new railway companies.

As an amateur horologist he soon became well known. In 1850 he published his Treatise on Clocks Watches and Bells, a book that ran to 8 editions. Turret clocks were his speciality and he was involved with the Great Clock at the Palace of Westminster. With the making of the clock in a mess, he took over the task and designed the clock and organized its making. He designed a new gravity escapement that became the standard for all turret clocks. He also popularised the use of the flat bed construction.

Apart from the great clock he also designed the bell called 'Big Ben'

Edmund was a very strong character and not always popular. He became the President of the British Horological Institute in 1868 and, at an exhibition of clock and watch work in 1872, was quite scathing about the BHI's love of unnecessary high polish on clocks and watches.

The picture here is a Vanity Fair cartoon entitled 'Bells'


I have presented several lectures on Lord Grimthorpe.

Grimthorpe was the President of the British Horological Institute for 37 years. Click Here to see my article for the Horological Journal.




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