Edmund Denison

Edmund Denison

Edmund Denison, the son of Lord Grimthorpe was born at Carlton Hall, near Newark in 1816. After being educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he became a lawyer. In 1845 Denison was appointed parliamentary counsel for the Great Northern Railway (GNR). Denison's family were closely associated with the GNR. He father, Lord Grimthorpe, was chairman (1847-64), and his brothers, Christopher and William, were both directors of the company.

As parliamentary counsel, Edmund Denison was also involved in promoting the line that linked the Great Northern Railway with the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1865 and the GNR's Derbyshire & Staffordshire Bill in 1872.

Denison took a keen interest in architecture and was involved in the restoration of St Albans Abbey and the designing of a new casement for Big Ben. Edmund Denison, who inherited his father's title in 1886, died in 1905.


The history of Dent & Co. spans three centuries of precision watch and clock making in Great Britain. Established in 1814 by Edward J. Dent, the company embraced the Victorian fervour for technological innovation and created precision chronometers to navigate the Royal Navy and guide some of the most intrepid explorers on their voyages. The British Empire was in full expansion and its maritime tradition had produced some remarkable technological breakthroughs from the late 18th century John Harrison&rsquos triumphant mechanical solution in 1764 to locate a ship&rsquos position at sea won the coveted Board of Longitudes prize money and further consolidated Britain as the horological force in the world. Propelling the impetus of Britain&rsquos primacy, Dent proved a key player in Victorian horological history manufacturing the Standard Clock at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich which was to keep &ldquoGreenwich Mean Time&rdquo the time to which all others in the Empire were referred (better known today as G.M.T.) and continued to do so until replaced by an electronic clock in 1946. Dent also made probably the most famous clock in the world - the Great Clock for the Houses of Parliament, familiarly known as Big Ben.

Edmund Denison - History

Martin Chichet was born 3 November 1842. The 1870 census shows him living in Iberia, Louisiana. He came to Denison, Texas and opened a French Restaurant 1870.

Denison Daily News , Vol II, No. 36
Denison, Texas
Sunday Morning, April 5, 1874

The 1876-1877 Denison City Directory listed a grocery store at 307 West Main, operated by Edmund Dumont and Martin Chichet.

Denison 1877-78 City Directory:
Dumont & Chichet, (Edmund Dumont & Martin Chichet), grocers 307 n s Main bet Burnet and Rusk Aves.
Dumont, Edmund, (Dumont & Chichet), res 307 n s Main bet Burnet and Fannin Aves.

Denison Daily News
Tuesday, December 31, 1878
G.L. Sharp buys out Mr. Chichet's grocery business.

Denison Daily News
Tuesday, December 9, 1879

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Two Hundred Years of History

This history of the notable Taylor bell-founding family, written by Paul Taylor, is taken from a leaflet produced for a celebration dinner held on Friday, 1st January 1960 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Taylor, the first member of the family to enter the trade. This dinner was held at the Bull's Head Hotel, Shelthorpe, attended by many members of the Taylor family.

As well as brief biographies of many family members, a family tree taken from the celebration leaflet appears at the end.

The relevance of this history to the study of bell acoustics is the account given of the discoveries and innovations in bell tuning made by Taylors at the end of the 19th century.

I am most grateful to John Kinchin of Leicester who provided me with a copy of the leaflet and allowed me to publish it here.


To speak with mellow tone but ne'er to swear
John Taylor taught us with a fathers care.
Clappers: screws: wheels: and all kept well in place
Then for an age quite sound this tower we'll grace.






John William Taylor, born at Buckland Brewer, was the eldest son of John Taylor. He soon became a bellringer, for on a board, dated 1842, in Loughborough Parish Church Belfry, there is recorded a peal of Grandsire Triples in which John W. Taylor rang the 3rd bell.

In 1852, at the age of 25, he married Eliza, daughter of Thomas Brayley, of Loughborough.

In 1856 we have records of his opinions connected with problems not only of bell founding, but also of bellhanging. We find him disagreeing with plans of the Hon. Edmund Beckett Denison, who was regarded as an eminent authority on bells, condemning them as "most bad in principle."

The question of the use of cast-iron for bellhanging is exercising his mind and in writing to a Mr. George Bloomfield, an engineer in Suffolk, he "can approve of it" for bellframes although at this time is not so sure about using it for headstocks as he "cannot recommend that batch of metal on the top of the bell." (We must remember that canons were the accepted way by which bells were fastened to their headstocks in those days.) Continuing, he advocates a centre hole "up through the middle of the argent for the clapper to be fastened to the stock," and does not resist a little tilt at other bellfounders when he ends his letter by saying,
" You will see that we do not go with the multitude in this matter . . . we give our advice to you and you must please yourself."

On the death of his father in 1858, he and his brother Pryce carried on the business, and their bells were mostly inscribed "John Taylor and Co., Loughborough," under which style it has continued ever since. In this year, too, he bought land in the Cherry Orchard district and began building his Bell Foundry in Freehold Street and Chapman Street.

In 1862 he is left alone as his brother Pryce dies at the early age of 27 and his eldest son is not yet old enough to help him. About this time he puts his thoughts to paper on a problem that disturbs him greatly and which in fact will not stop disturbing him for another 30 years, viz., WHY DO BELLS SOUND OUT OF TUNE?

He writes to the Hon. E. B. Denison (with whom he has settled his differences and in fact has called his newly born son Edmund Denison in his honour), "I have almost a dread of attempting to harmonize bells up to A . but I flatter myself at being able to reach G satisfactorily". He has a vague idea about the complex tone of a bell and his letter continues, "I find there are transition notes in a long range of bells neither fit for one scale of notes or the other. They have always baffled me".

Notwithstanding the powerful influence of the Hon. E. B. Denison, he does not hesitate again to disagree with him, this time falling out with Denison's specifications for the great peal of bells which was being planned for Worcester Cathedral, for in writing to the Reverend R. Cattley he says, "I should dread the result at Worcester of such a peal to eclipse all others!" E. B. Denison got his own way and Taylor had to cast the bells to his specification. The resulting peal of bells fully justified John William Taylor's forebodings but it was left to his son, many years later, to remodel and recast the bells, resulting in the present noble ring.

About this time, in the actual process of moulding bells, he takes a great step forward by equipping himself "with a complete set of iron shells for bells up to four tons". By this is meant what we now call "bellcases". He moulded them in the Bell Foundry and had them cast at "a foundry with which I am connected".

A few years later he has his eldest son working for him.


John William II goes up to London at the age of 25 and receives the order for the largest peal of bells in the world, namely the ring of twelve bells for St. Paul's Cathedral, and three years later father and son complete their work there by casting and installing "Great Paul", the largest bell in the Empire, sounding a fifth below the tenor bell of the ring-truly a masterpiece of bell founding.

Along with these monster bells they were also busy casting and hanging bells for many of the Parish Churches of England.

By now their bells are being cast with flat heads, i.e., without canons, thus straightaway getting rid of the previous objection to the use of cast-iron headstocks and they soon find the great advantage of metal as opposed to wood, in that metal does not alter with the vagaries of our English climate!

They are also cogitating on metal bellframes and soon these appear, firstly just cast-iron struts and timber cills and then the all-metal frame.

Early in 1884. the aforementioned


is found working with his father and brother. He had been apprenticed to an iron founder in Leicester and is soon busy superintending the actual casting of bells and bellframes.

In this year, too, John William II marries Annie Mary, daughter of John Bardsley of Loughborough. Twenty years later he is left a widower, and marries in 1909 his second wife, Edith, youngest daughter of William Lea, of Manchester.

By the late eighties they had realized the importance of the "transition tones" that had so baffled John William I some twenty-five years before, and had now decided that a bell should sound no less than three octaves. But to know this was one thing, to do it another. Many were the bells they cast trying to do this and many were their disappointments.

They were, though, well on the way to the solution of the problem when, in 1894, they were visited by the Reverend A. B. Simpson and were astonished to hear from him that two Dutch bellfounders, some 250 years before, had solved the same problem but that their secret was now lost.

Mr. Simpson had been crusading for some years in an effort to get better bells and finding, at last, someone really interested in improving the tone of a bell, he became a constant visitor to Loughborough, ever urging the Taylors on and comforting them when they became despondent.

Eventually the practical and financial problems of producing the "true-harmonic" bell were solved and in 1896 the first peal of tuned bells ever made was installed in Norton Church Tower, near Sheffield.

In 1906 John William Taylor I dies, and the Bell Foundry is carried on by the two brothers, John William and Edmund Denison. Their fame and success increase as the years go by, and they enlarge their scope by turning their attention to the building of Carillons. This opened up great possibilities both in the Old World and the New, and Taylor Carillons are to be found spread over the world just as are Taylor Peals.

The third and fourth sons of John William II now enter the scene as they become old enough, namely


In 1914 they both leave the Foundry to enlist, and Pryce alone survives the Great War.

He comes back to the Bell Foundry when hostilities are over to rejoin his uncle and, his father dying in 1919, the business is carried on by the two of them until in 1927 Pryce dies while on a business trip to Canada.

After the War and until her marriage in 1923, to George Frederick Mears,


the third daughter of John William II assisted her brother and uncle in bell tuning and the forty-seven bell War Memorial Carillon in Loughborough bears witness to her work.

In 1935 the youngest son of John William II,

born 1914, starts his career as a bellfounder, under his uncle, and remains today to carry on the family tradition.

It is with the wish to do honour to his forebears that he has written these few notes about them and to show that from somewhat small beginnings, where the family of Taylor took control, the business has continued to develop to its pre-eminence today through the industry of five generations.

Last updated May 13, 2001. Site created by Bill Hibbert, Great Bookham, Surrey


The construction of Big Ben was commissioned during the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the wake of an 1834 fire.

Parliament determined that the new buildings should incorporate an impressive clock tower and passed a bill to that end in 1844.

The clock tower was constructed on the northern extremity of the new Houses of Parliament that were built next to Westminster Hall.

The commission for the clock itself demanded a high level of accuracy the specifications drafted by Astronomer Royal George Airy required that "the first stroke of the hour bell should register the time, correct to within one second per day, and furthermore that it should telegraph its performance twice a day to Greenwich Observatory, where a record would be kept."

Many clock makers were skeptical that such accuracy could be achieved in a mechanical clock, but Edmund Beckett Denison, a lawyer and amateur horologist, rose to the challenge.

He completed a pendulum clock design in 1851, and its assembly was begun by Edward John Dent, the owner of a prominent clock making company, and finished by his son Frederick Dent. It was completed in 1854, but construction on the tower lasted until 1859, providing Frederick Dent five years to test and perfect the clock.

Denison also designed the hour bell. The prototype, cast in August 1856 by John Warner and Sons, cracked beyond repair during testing. Under owner George Mears, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (the oldest foundry in Britain, which coincidentally had cast the original Liberty Bell that cracked and had to be recast upon its arrival in the American colonies), met with more success when it melted down and recast the hour bell.

Completed in April 1858, the second and final version of the hour bell was the largest ever cast in the United Kingdom.

In fact, it was so colossal&mdashover seven feet high and weighing more than 13 tons&mdashthat a team of 16 horses was needed to pull the wagon upon which it rested from the foundry to the Palace of Westminster.

The transportation took on the character of a parade, with enthusiastic crowds lining the streets as the caravan made its way through London.

It took several days in October 1858 to hoist the bell to the top of the tower.

Following the installation of the hour bell and four smaller quarter chime bells, Big Ben rang out for the first time on May 31, 1859.

Due to the fitting of an oversized hammer stipulated by Denison, the hour bell cracked the following September and did not come into regular service until its repair in 1862. The distinctive imperfect tone of the bell is the result of the crack, which was merely patched by a square piece of metal to bolster the bell's strength.

A lighter hammer was also installed to prevent further damage.

Setting of the clock was initially coordinated with the Greenwich Observatory via telegraph, and throughout its existence, Big Ben has garnered a reputation for remaining extremely accurate&mdashas a result, it was not deemed necessary to replace the telegraph line after it was destroyed by German bombs during World War II.

Living up to Airy's specifications, there have been very few instances of the clock's accuracy straying more than one second. The most notable example was in 1962, when a buildup of snow on the clock arms caused Big Ben to ring in the new year 10 minutes past midnight.

Surprisingly, the accuracy of the clock has been maintained by a relatively primitive method pennies are used to adjust and balance the swing of the clock's pendulum.

Big Ben Clock Tower

Big Ben Tower

From Graces Guide

Lord Grimthorpe, 1816-1905, Horologist

1851 He designed the great clock for the 1851 Great Exhibition, made by Edward John Dent, which was later installed at King's Cross Railway Station.

In the same year he undertook, in conjunction with George Biddell Airy and Dent, the construction of the great clock for the clock tower in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. The design was Beckett's, as an inscription records, and it included a new gravity escapement designed by him. Beckett also prepared the specifications for the bell commonly called Big Ben, after Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner of public works. The clock and Big Ben, like most of Beckett's undertakings, involved him in fierce controversies.

1860 Beckett, having made statements about the causes of the failure of the Big Ben bell, withdrew them after legal action by George Mears

1868 Beckett was elected president of the Horological Institute, on condition that he should not attend dinners, and was annually re-elected, though not always without opposition.

1881 Lost a libel action brought against him by Mr Stainbank of Mears and Stainbank concerning the casting of the bell Big Ben Ώ]

"EARLY on Saturday morning Edmund Beckett Denison, Lord Grimthorpe, passed away quietly at a great age, in his house, Batchwood, St Albans. He was born in 1816. Of his life as a lawyer, a politician, an architect, and a conversationalist, we do not propose to speak. He was a man celebrated for his abilities, notorious as a fighter but we cannot let his memory pass away without putting on record the fact that be revolutionised the construction of large public clocks, and incidentally produced some of the finest "regulators" ever made. To those who are versed in horology the name of Denison is a household word, but it is not difficult to make any engineer understand what it was that he effected.

Clocks working pendulums are more or less accurate just as they leave the pendulum more or less alone. It is of the utmost importance that the frictional resistance of the escapement should be as small as possible that whatever its amount, it should remain constant over long periods and that the driving power of the clock should always be the same. It is only in this way that the length of the are described by the pendulum can be kept nearly always the same, and always traversed in the same period. Now, church clocks must be large because they have to move big bands. Their wheel work is coarse, and the effect of wind on the bands is very great.

Sir Edmund Beckett-Denison designed the great clock made by Dent for the Houses of Parliament, which is probably the finest timekeeper ever used on a public building. It is fitted with the double three-legged gravity escapement. Lord Grimthorpe was a great authority on bells, bell hanging and bell ringing. He was a good mathematician, and in many respects a fine mechanic. As an author, his style was excellent. Even his rampant dogmatism was not without a charm. Our readers will find it worth their while to get his treatise on "Clocks, Watches, and Bells," the first edition of which appeared in "Weale's Series" some fifty years ago. The later editions contain much interesting additional matter." Read More

Treasures of London – The Clock Tower…

The tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament is known to many simply as Big Ben – what isn’t often realised is that (as was pointed out in this earlier article) Big Ben actually refers to a bell inside the tower and not the tower itself. The tower, rather, has the rather plain moniker of The Clock Tower. But in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, that’s all about to change.

News broke this week that politicians have decided to rename the tower the Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. The move does have precedent – the great southern tower which stands over the Sovereign’s Entrance to the House of Lords was once known as the King’s Tower but was renamed the Victoria Tower in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (Queen Victoria is the only other British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee).

The 96 metre high tower, part of the Houses of Parliament (officially known as the Palace of Westminster), is not the first clock tower to stand on the site of the palace. The first, located on the north side of New Palace Yard, was built in 1288-90 in the reign of King Edward I and contained a bell and clock.

It was replaced in 1367 with a tower that featured the first public chiming clock in England. This second tower was demolished in 1707 after falling into disrepair and replaced with a sundial.

Following a fire which destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster in 1834, architect Sir Charles Barry was selected to design new buildings to house Parliament but interestingly his initial designs didn’t include a clock tower – this was added to the plans in 1836.

Construction of the new Clock Tower, which was built from the inside out and clad in Yorkshire Anston stone and Cornish granite, began in September 1843 but wasn’t completed until 1859 following considerable delays. The ‘lantern’ at the top is known as the ‘Ayrton Light’, named for Acton Smee Ayrton, an MP and the First Commissioner of Works in the 1870s. Not installed until 1885, it is lit up when either House is sitting at night.

The clock was constructed by Edward John Dent and his stepson Frederick to the designs of Edmund Beckett Denison. It included a “revolutionary mechanism” known as the ‘Grimthorpe Escapement’ (Denison was later created Baron Grimthorpe), which helped ensure the clock’s accuracy despite external factors like wind pressure on the clock’s hands and which was adopted in many subsequent clocks. The design of the dials were a collaboration between Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin.

The clock was installed in April 1859 but the cast-iron hands were too heavy and had to be replaced with copper ones. It began keeping time on 31st May, 1859.

It’s worth noting that the tower tilts at 0.26 degrees to the north-west but experts say this is apparently not going to be a major structural problem for 10,000 years.


On 6 March 1919, Denison left Woolwich for an illegible appointment. Five months of unpaid time commenced on 18 May, 1922 and Denison was appointed in command of the light cruiser Cleopatra. On 23 January 1923 Denison was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham with bursitis. He was again fit on 5 March, 1923 and continued to command Cleopatra until mid October, 1923. [7]

Denison was placed on the Retired List at his own request with the rank of Captain on 4 June, 1924. [8]

He returned to Canada to live, being recorded as a resident in 1937 and having a war appointment with an Auxiliary Flotilla. [9]

Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname of a bell that hangs in the clock tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, England. [1] Officially, the tower itself is called Elizabeth Tower. It was previously known as just the Clock Tower, but was renamed in September 2012 as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. [2] However, most people, including those that live in London, call the tower "Big Ben" because it is very large.

Designed by Edmund Beckett Denison, the clock took 13 years to build and it was completed in 1859. [3] It has worked continuously since then except for a few months in 1976 when it broke down and had to be fixed.

Big Ben is one of England’s best-known landmarks. Some believe it got its name from Sir Benjamin Hall. [1] The Elizabeth Tower which it is located in has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and is often in the establishing shot of films set in London.

Since August 2017, repair work is being done on the clock, which will take four years. For the safety of those doing this work, Big Ben no longer rings out every hour. It will still be heard on special occasions, such as the New Year and Remembrance Day. [4]

The Elizabeth Tower is over 96 metres (315 ft) high and the turret clock mechanism that drives the clock alone weighs about 5 tons (5.08 tonnes). The clock on it has four faces that are 9 feet (2.7 m) in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world for a clock that chimes and strikes every hour. [5] The figures on the clock face are about 2 feet (0.61 m) long and the minute spaces are 1 foot (0.30 m) long. There are, however, clocks with much bigger faces that Big Ben. One of these is the Abraj Al Bait, a hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Its faces are more than ten times bigger than Big Ben.

The bell known as Big Ben weighs 13 tons and is the biggest of the five bells in the Elizabeth Tower. [1] Big Ben only sounds at the top of every hour, and at that time it rings once for every hour (for example, it rings three times at 3 o'clock). The other four bells in the tower are smaller and play a short melody every 15 minutes. This melody, which is broadcasted live on BBC Radio 4 at 6 pm and midnight every day, can be heard in many other clocks around the world and is called the Westminster Chimes.

The bells are struck by hammers that are connected to the clock mechanism, which is powered by large weights that are wound three times a week. It does not use any electricity except for winding and to light the faces so that the clock could be seen when it is dark.

  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Trajectory
    • 2 St Albans Cathedral
    • 3 Devotee of homeopathy
    • 4 Marriage

    He was born on December of maypole of 1816 in the Hall Carlton Nottinghamshire , England , and was the son of Sir Edmund Beckett (Fourth Baronet)


    He studied at Eton in 1851 and designed the clockwork for the Palace of Westminster , responsible for the chimes of Big Ben .

    This famous architect is credited with the reliability of this watch that has become a symbol of the city.

    St Albans Cathedral

    He was responsible for the reconstruction of the west façade, roof, and transept windows of St Albans Cathedral at his own expense.

    Although the building was in need of repair, popular opinion at the time held that the character of the cathedral had changed, even inspiring the creation and temporary popularity of the verb “Grimthorpe”, that is, to carry out non-sympathetic restorations of the old buildings.

    Part of Beckett’s additions include statues of the four evangelists around the western gate, the statue of Saint Matthew has a Beckett face.

    Devotee of homeopathy

    Edmund Beckett was an enthusiastic and ardent devotee of homeopathy, and he wrote to The Times in 1888 to protest against the prejudices of allopathic physicians by dismissing Kenneth William Millican, resulting in a months-long battle of words in the times, and the whole matter was drawn up in John Henry Clarke’s medicum Odium and homeopathy.

    In 1874 , Edmund Becket, Lord Grimthorpe stepped in to assist George Dunn in financing the “The St. James Doncaster” homeopathic hospital.

    Watch the video: إدموند كيمبر: قتلي لهؤلاء الفتيات كان بديلا لقتلي لوالدتي مقابلات + صور حقيقية