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Tyne and Wear HER(3171): Houghton-le-Spring, Hopper Street, Iron Works - Details

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Houghton-le-Spring, Hopper Street, Iron Works




Metal Smelting Site

Iron Works

Early Modern


Documentary Evidence

Shown on the first edition Ordnance Survey map. George Hopper's iron works made a clapper for the Big Ben bell in London. The bell had been made in 1856 by John Warner & Sons of Stockton. A crack appeared in the bell in 1857. A new lighter bell was cast in Whitechapel in 1858. This new bell cracked in 1859 but the crack was filled. In 1863 a new lighter hammer was cast. This too cracked in 1869 or 70. George Elliott, MP for North Durham, recommended his friend George Hopper for the job of making a new clapper. Hopper's foreman, John Thornton, made the clapper. The clapper was apparently taken off the bell in 1934 but can seen in the public exhibition room in the Big Ben Tower.




1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 13; Paul Lanagan, 2013, Part of a world-famous landmark made in town, article in Seaham and Houghton Star, Wednesday 17 April 2013

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