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Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe

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Edmund Beckett

Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, Q.C. (May 12, 1816 - April 29, 1905), known for most of his life as Sir Edmund Beckett, Bt. was a lawyer, amateur horologist, and architect. In 1851 he designed the clock mechanism for the clock of the Palace of Westminster, responsible for the chimes of Big Ben.

He was also responsible for rebuilding the west face, roof, and transept windows of St Albans Cathedral at his own expense. Although the building had been in need of repair, popular opinion at the time held that he had changed the cathedral's character, even inspiring the creation and temporary popularity of the verb "to grimthorpe", meaning to carry out unsympathetic restorations of ancient buildings. Part of Beckett's additions included statues of the four evangelists around the western door; the statue of St Matthew has Beckett's face. He later turned his attentions to St Peter's church in the same town.

He was born on May 12 1816, studied at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, was made a Q.C. in 1854, and was created Baron Grimthorpe in 1886. He is sometimes known as Edmund Beckett Denison, the same name as his father; his father had taken the additional name Denison in 1816, and his son dropped it on his father's death in 1874. He married Fanny Catherine (Feb. 23, 1823 - Dec 8, 1901), daughter of John Lonsdale, Bishop of Lichfield. He died on April 29 1905 after a fall, and is buried in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral.

Quotation

  • "I am the only architect with whom I have never quarrelled."

External links

Preceded by:
New Creation
Baron Grimthorpe Followed by:
Ernest William Beckett
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