The Understanding of Time in the Nineteenth Century: Big Ben and the Procedural Reforms Adopted by Parliament, Caroline Leclerc
Whilst the first clocks date back to the end of the Middle Ages, the understanding of time transformed society in the nineteenth century. The erection of Big Ben at the end of the century illustrated the increasing emphasis on the development of a standardised time in England. The new understanding of time first transformed society, before then reaching the political world. The procedural reform enacted by Parliament in 1882 eventually made the House of Commons more time efficient. This essay attempts to analyse why it took a long time for Parliament to be changed by our new understanding of time. Although time scarcity was debated in the House of Commons at the beginning of the century, no real measure was passed to reform the House until the end of the century. Procedural reforms making the House more time efficient came after a century of debates regularly being brought forward yet regularly dismissed.