Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe

Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, Q.C. (12 May, 181629 April, 1905), known previously as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet and Edmund Beckett Denison was a lawyer, amateur horologist, and architect. In 1851 he designed the mechanism for the clock of the Palace of Westminster, responsible for the chimes of Big Ben.

He was also responsible for rebuilding the west front, 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. [cite web| url= http://scholars.nus.edu.sg/victorian/art/architecture/churches/stalbans2.html | quote=While the verb "to Grimthorpe" entered the English language of the time as a pejorative term for such insensitive "restoration," ... | accessdate=2008-01-18 | title=St Albans Cathedral and Abbey Church, Hertfordshire: A Case History in Victorian Restoration | last=Benerjee | first=Jacqueline | publisher=The Victorian Web] 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 and then to St Michael's Church, both in the same city. In 1868 he worked with W H Crossland to design St Chad's Church, Far Headingley in Leeds.

He was born at Carlton Hall Nottinghamshire, England, and was the son of Sir Edmund Beckett, 4th Baronet. He studied at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, was made a Queen's Counsel in 1854, and was created Baron Grimthorpe in 1886. He is sometimes known as Edmund Beckett Denison; his father had taken the additional name Denison in 1816, but the son dropped it on his father's death in 1874. He married Fanny Catherine (23 February 18238 December 1901), daughter of John Lonsdale, 89th Bishop of Lichfield. He died on 29 April 1905 after a fall, and is buried in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral.


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


External links

* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20155&pt=Edmund%20%27Baron%20Grimthorpe%27%20Beckett Photograph of his grave]
* [http://arglist.com/cgi-bin/image?gallery=st_albans_cathedral&name=20050424-004 Another photo of his grave, and the inscriptions.]

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