Benjamin Hall, 1st Baron Llanover

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The Lord Llanover
President of the Board of Health
In office
14 October 1854 – 13 August 1855
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime Minister
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byWilliam Cowper
First Commissioner of Works
In office
21 July 1855 – 21 February 1858
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Palmerston
Preceded bySir William Molesworth
Succeeded byLord John Manners
Personal details
Born(1802-11-08)8 November 1802
Abercarn, Caerphilly, Wales
Died27 April 1867(1867-04-27) (aged 64)
Westminster, London, England
Political partyWhig
(m. 1823)

Benjamin Hall, 1st Baron Llanover PC (8 November 1802 – 27 April 1867), known as Sir Benjamin Hall between 1838 and 1859, was a Welsh civil engineer and politician. The famous "Big Ben" may have been named after him.


Hall was a son of the industrialist Benjamin Hall. He went to Westminster School.

Political career[edit]

He was a Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1826. He was elected Member of Parliament for Monmouth in May 1831, but his name was erased from the return already in July of the same year. However, he was successfully re-elected for the same constituency in December 1832.[1] He was instrumental in the passing of the Truck Acts of 1831 and campaigned against the abuse of parliamentary election expenses and championed the right of people in Wales to have religious services in Welsh. He also engaged in bitter controversy with the bishops on the state of the Anglican church in Wales and made attacks on the shameless exploitation of church revenues, complaining of unbounded nepotism.[2] In 1837 he was returned for Marylebone[3] and the following year he was created a baronet.[4]

He served under Lord Aberdeen and then Lord Palmerston as President of the Board of Health between 1854 and 1855 and was sworn of the Privy Council in 1854.[5] In 1855 he introduced an Act of Parliament which led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

He became First Commissioner of Works the same year and was responsible for many environmental and sanitary improvements in London.[6] He oversaw the later stages of the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament, including the installation of the 13.8-tonne hour bell, "Big Ben", in the clock tower. He was a tall man and many attribute its name to him.[7]

He remained as First Commissioner of Works under parliament until the Whigs lost power in 1858. The following year he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Llanover, of Llanover and Abercarn in the County of Monmouth.[8] From 1861 to 1867 he was Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire.[9]

Through his wife, Augusta Waddington, Hall inherited the Llanover estate in Monmouthshire.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Llanover married Augusta, daughter of Benjamin and Georgina Waddington of Ty Uchaf, Llanover in 1823. She was the sister of and co-heiress with Frances Bunsen, wife of the Prussian diplomat Baron Bunsen.[10]

Only one of their daughters reached adulthood. Augusta married Arthur Jones of Llanarth. Their son was Ivor Herbert, 1st Baron Treowen. Lord Llanover died in April 1867, aged 64, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct. Lady Llanover survived him by almost thirty years and died in January 1896.


  1. ^ " House of Commons: Mitcham to Motherwell South". Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Friends of Torfaen Museum Trust. St. Bartholomew's Church, Llanover. 1996 See:[dead link]
  3. ^ " House of Commons: Macclesfield to Marylebone West". Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "No. 19631". The London Gazette. 3 July 1838. p. 1488.
  5. ^ "No. 21629". The London Gazette. 17 November 1854. p. 3513.
  6. ^ Halliday S. The Great Stink of London. Thrupp, Gloucestershire: Sutton; 1999, p 59.
  7. ^ Whitechapel Bell Foundry The Story of Big Ben See: - but see "The Welshman", 31 October 1856, p. 8.
  8. ^ "No. 22280". The London Gazette. 28 June 1859. p. 2514.
  9. ^ The Peerage: Linklater of Butterstone to Lonsdale[Usurped!]
  10. ^ "Bunsen, Christian Karl Josias von, Baron von Bunsen in the Prussian nobility (1791–1860), diplomatist and scholar hostess and biographer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/53760. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 31 May 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Marylebone
With: Sir Samuel Whalley 1837–1838
Charles Shore 1838–1841
Sir Charles Napier 1841–1847
Lord Dudley Stuart 1847–1854
Viscount Ebrington 1854–1859
Edwin James 1859
Succeeded by
Political offices
New office President of the Board of Health
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Llanover-court)
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Baron Llanover