Westminster Abbey’s Clock Tower

Westminster Abbey 1

Westminster Abbey’s current building was begun by Henry III in 1245.  The Gothic architecture was the work of master masons Henry of Reyns, John of Glucester, and Robert of Beverley.  The towers were unfinished for centuries.

Westminster Abbey towers-3

Although the tower did not yet look like this, the clock on the North West Tower was made and installed by John Seddon in 1738 before the towers were completed.  The clock originally had only an hour hand, which was quite common for tower clocks during that time.  Christopher Wren took up the case for completing the towers, which were of different heights, but he died prior to being able to carry it through.  Nicholas Hawksmoor designed the last phase of the Abbey, the West Towers of Portland Stone.

The clock movement was replaced in 1861, but the dials and single hour hand retained.  The exterior of the building has been restored and re-faced with different stone several times over the years, with the most recent in 1973-1995.Westminster Abbey 2

Coronations of kings and queens have been held here, and many well-known people are buried here.  It was interesting to me to learn it is the final resting place of Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist.  There is also a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a section of the church dedicated to the “modern martyrs.”

Source for information: Westminster Abbey, About the Abbey, History/architecture.

This entry was posted in churches, Gothic Architecture, London and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Westminster Abbey’s Clock Tower

  1. We attended services in Westminster Abbey many times. There were so few people on Sunday mornings that we usually sat near the choir of men and boys. What heavenly music they sang!


  2. peggyjoan42 says:

    I am beginning to believe you went to London to see only the clocks. They certainly are beautiful. I know you saw other wonderful things too. Nice post.


    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you, Peggy. I actually went only to give a presentation about Hurricane Katrina, but we took time to do the bus tour. I am almost done with clocks though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • peggyjoan42 says:

        Have enjoyed your clocks. A presentation on Hurricane Katrina – that sounds interesting.


        • Suzassippi says:

          Thanks, I am glad you have liked them. The research was interesting. In addition to the London presentation, did one in New Orleans and one in Jackson, Mississippi, and 5 years later, finally got the publication. I was not going to London as our university does not fund out of country presentations with state money, but a short while prior, my colleague got thrown off a horse and broke his back. I went to do the presentation and since I was having to pay for my trip, my husband went with me. It was fun, even if fast.


  3. Beth says:

    I need to read some more about this fascinating building. Thanks for prompting me!


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