Saturday, March 14, 2009

Big Ben strikes the Duchess's death

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
On the morning of March 14, 1861, the inhabitants of Westminster, London, awoke to the sound of Big Ben striking ten times for 4 o'clock and twelve times for 5 o'clock. The rumour went around that there must have been a death in the royal family.

Strangely, although Big Ben had been uncustomarily malfunctioning on that morning, within a day it was announced that the Duchess of Kent (Queen Victoria's mother) was dying. The next day she was, in fact, dead.

Big Ben is actually the name of the bell hanging in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, the home of the Houses of Parliament in the UK, but vernacular has it otherwise (ie, that it is the clock itself). It was cast on April 10, 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which also cast America's Liberty Bell.

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