Today the BBC Archive is launching a new online collection celebrating the 150th anniversary of Big Ben, as part of its plans to open up parts of its extensive archives dating back to 1922. The new collection will enable the public to take advantage of the broadcaster’s unique access and ability to witness defining moments in history.
Sunday 31 May marks Big Ben’s official anniversary, and the BBC Archive has captured and preserved some of the fascinating events around Big Ben in its various broadcasts – from how the chimes were first recorded on New Year’s Eve in 1923, to Peter Duncan’s both daring and brave scaling of the clock face in Blue Peter in 1980, and BBC television’s Jim’ll Fix It venturing inside the tower in 1988.
The Big Ben collection also showcases some of the intriguing moments in the clock’s history, such as the times it fell silent and did not “bong” owing to repairs brought on by cold weather and redecoration.
The image gallery includes photographs of Richard Dimbleby reporting inside the clock face of Big Ben in 1949, first accredited female war correspondent Audrey Russell reporting from Westminster in 1954, and Daleks from Doctor Who crossing Westminster Bridge in 1964.
This collection is the latest in a series to be released online which explore the cultural and political developments that shaped the 20th century. The new collection goes live today (28 May 2009) and you can view the collection by going to bbc.co.uk/archive/bigben.
(Source: BBC Press Office)