Historical references to London's sounds

A database of several hundred historical descriptions and references to London's sounds. They're drawn mainly from primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries and statutes, as well as novels written around the times they depict.

11th to
16th to
18th Early
 Coronations 1 1 3   1   1  
 Ritual openings of public events     1   1      
 Victory parades and celebrations   1            
 Regular rituals of court and state     1 1   1    

Period referred to: 1859

Sound category: Ceremonial > Rituals of court and state

Title of work: The Daily News

Type of publication: Newspaper

Author: Unnamed journalist

Year of publication: 1859

Page/volume number: 16 July 1859, page 3

Members of Parliament complain about the newly-installed Great Bell, Big Ben

Mr. Alderman SALOMONS, as they were talking about the houses of parliament, would call attention to the dismal tones of the clock bell - (it had just been striking ten). They might think that some dismal event had just taken place. He hoped that the first commissioner of works, or Mr. [illegible], or Sir Charles Barry, or whoever it was that was responsible, would try to make some alteration in the tone of the bell. The members of that house and the people should not be condemned from hour to hour to hear that dreadful noise, a noise which they could only expect to hear when the great bell of St. Paul's was tolled on the death of a member of the royal family.

Mr. PEASE complained that the members could not hear what was said. Some of them came hundreds of miles to attend the house; they could not all sit near the officials, and it was impossible for those who could not sit near them to hear what they said. He asked if the account with Sir C. Barry was closed?

Mr. FITZROY said the account with Sir C. Barry would not be closed as long as the repairs and alterations were going on, as he received a commission on them.

Mr. Alderman SALOMONS observed that he had not had an answer with regard to the clock bell.

Mr. FITZROY said he believed the bell was constructed with the greatest possible care by a gentleman who was supposed to understand the manufacture of bells better than any man in England. The combination of the metal it was calculated was such as would produce the most harmonious sound. He was not a judge as to whether it had had that effect, but if the sound were an infliction, he was afraid they were likely to remain under it for a considerable time.

Mr. HANKEY asked who was responsible? The sound of the bell was a great annoyance.

Sir J. PAKINGTON suggested that they might come to a compromise. He should like to know if it would not be better to have the hands on all the four faces going, and that that horrible sound should cease.