LORD LLANOVER (' BIG BEN') IN LONDON* by MAXWELL FRASER LORD Llanover1 was essentially a countryman at heart, but it was his fate to spend much of his life in London; to bring in an Act,2 in 1856, which changed the face of London; and to give his name to Big Ben Unlike his father,3 and his maternal grandfather, Richard Craw- shay4 of Cyfarthfa, Benjamin Hall was never an industrialist, nor did he follow his paternal grandfather5 into the Church. He was descended from a long line of gentlemen-farmers,6 and soon after he came of age, he sold or leased the industrial properties he had inherited. With the proceeds of the sales, he bought up properties adjoining Llanover, as they came into the market, and whenever his parliamentary duties allowed him to do so, he spent his time in- dulging a love of the land inherited from his Pembrokeshire ancestors, and the sporting pursuits in which he excelled. Benjamin Hall was born in London, in the then newly-built Upper Gower Street, on 8 November, 1802, when England was enjoying the brief respite in the Napoleonic Wars which followed the Amiens agreement, and the reign of George III had another eighteen years to run. London was still essentially the London of the eighteenth century, with its cobbled streets and innumerable street cries. Its brilliant fashions, exquisite manners and boundless wealth were cheek by jowl with incredible slums, whose open sewers and hopeless misery Benjamin Hall was to do so much to reform. There is no question that Benjamin Hall was born in London, but up to the present, some difference of opinion has been displayed as to the street in which he was born. The G.E.C. Peerage shows it as Upper Brook Street-and, incidentally, gives his maternal grand- An address given to the Society in London on 22 January, 1963. Chair- man: Sir Ben Bowen Thomas, M.A. 1 Benjamin Hall (1802-1867), eldest son of Benjamin Hall, M.P. Created a baronet, 1838; sworn a member of the Privy Council, 1854; raised to the peerage as Baron Llanover of Llanover and Abercarn, 1859. 2 Hall's Act for the better local management of the Metropolis, which received Royal Assent in 1856. 3 Benjamin Hall, M.P. (1778-1817). 1 Richard Crawshay (1739-1810). See John P. Addis, The Crawshay Dynasty (University of Wales Press, 1957). 5 Dr. Benjamin Hall, Chancellor of the Diocese of Llandaff (1742-1825). See The Halls of Pembrokeshire by the present writer, National Library of Wales Journal, Vol. XII. No. 1 (Summer, 1961), 1-17.