Benjamin Hall, 1st Baron Llanover

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Llanover
Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt.jpg
President of the Board of Health
In office
14 October 1854 – 13 August 1855
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Hon William Cowper
First Commissioner of Works
In office
21 July 1855 – 21 February 1858
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by Sir William Molesworth
Succeeded by Lord John Manners
Personal details
Born (1802-11-08)8 November 1802
Died 27 April 1867(1867-04-27) (aged 64)
Nationality Welsh
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Augusta Waddington
(m. 1823; wid. 1867)

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 for him.


Hall was the son of an industrialist Benjamin Hall.

Political career

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, but this is questionable.[7] Through his wife, Hall inherited the Llanover estate in Monmouthshire. 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]

Personal life

Lord Llanover married Augusta, daughter of Benjamin Waddington of Ty Uchaf, Llanover, in 1823. Only one of their daughters, Augusta, reached adulthood. She 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
  2. Friends of Torfaen Museum Trust. St. Bartholomew's Church, Llanover. 1996 See:[dead link]
  3. House of Commons: Macclesfield to Marylebone West
  4. The London Gazette: no. 19631. p. 1488. 3 July 1838.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 21629. p. 3513. 17 November 1854.
  6. Halliday S. The Great Stink of London. Thrupp, Gloucestershire: Sutton; 1999, p 59.
  7. Whitechapel Bell Foundry The Story of Big Ben See:
  8. The London Gazette: no. 22280. p. 2514. 28 June 1859.
  9. The Peerage: Linklater of Butterstone to Lonsdale

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Marquess of Worcester
Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Marquess of Worcester
Preceded by
Marquess of Worcester
Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Reginald Blewitt
Preceded by
Sir Henry Bulwer
Sir Samuel Whalley
Member of Parliament for Marylebone
With: Sir Samuel Whalley 1837–1838
Hon. Charles Shore 1838–1841
Sir Charles Napier 1841–1847
Lord Dudley Stuart 1847–1854
Viscount Ebrington 1854–1859
Edwin James 1859
Succeeded by
Edwin James
The Lord Fermoy
Political offices
Preceded by
New office
President of the Board of Health
Succeeded by
Hon. William Cowper
Preceded by
Sir William Molesworth, Bt
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
Lord John Manners
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Capel Hanbury Leigh
Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Beaufort
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
(of Llanover-court)
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Llanover
Succeeded by