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Big Ben

Big Ben

Photographer: Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882 - 1966)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1914

Shelfmark: Cup.400.g.27

Item number: 7

Length: 14.5

Width: 5.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Gilbert Keith Chesterton writes that throughout history "in the main, London had one political character from first to last. It was always, for good or evil, on the side of the Parliament and against the King. Six hundred years ago, it was the citizens of London who had to stand the charge of the strongest of the Plantagenets in his youth, on the downs round Lewes. Four hundred years afterwards, it was the citizens of London who held the high places of Buckinghamshire, when the army of Charles I threatened London from Oxford. Later still, the Londoners stood solidly against James II and splendidly against George III. Whether Parliament was worth such fidelity, whether the merchants of the Thames were wise to tie themselves so entirely to the grandees of the counties, is no subject for this place. But that the tradition of the town was sincere and continuous cannot be doubted. To this day the Lord Mayor of London is probably proud that the King of England can only enter London by his leave. That fact is as close a summary of the purely political history of London as one could want. It exactly expresses the victory of the merchants over the central power."

Text by Gilbert Keith Chesterton from the book 'London'

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