Houses of Parliament London England about 1892

Houses of Parliament London England about 1892

HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT LONDON — These noble buildings are worthy of their fame. The finest view of them is obtained thus from the river, along the embankment of which they extend for 940 feet. Built in elaborate Gothic style, their ornamentations including graceful towers, pinnacles, fluted columns, interesting statues, and a bewildering amount of fine stone carving relieve the enormous structure of monotony. This edifice covers an area of eight acres. The rooms which it contains are numbered by hundreds and its corridors can be reckoned by miles. The grand “Victoria Tower” at the southern end of the building reaches the imposing height of 340 feet, and is more than seventy feet square. Through this the Queen enters when she opens Parliament, on which occasion the flag of England is always displayed above the Tower. The Clock Tower at the northern end of these Imperial legislative halls, is only twenty feet lower than its rival. Each of its four great dials measure ninety-two feet in circumference. The minute hand is a bar of steel more than twelve feet in length! It is said that five hours are required to wind it up. Every one who has spent a night in London must have heard the great bell of this tower proclaim the flight of time in deep and solemn tones, which are to those of other bells like the voice of an organ to the sound of a piano. This bell, which weighs no less than thirteen tons, is known as “Big Ben,” and for years had no rival. But now it is surpassed by the new monster recently placed in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Still they are far enough apart to make no interference with each other. The kingdom of “Big Ben” has simply been curtailed. Over this part of gigantic London he still reigns supreme. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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