London’s Big Ben

The Houses of Parliament ‘s iconic clock column is one of London ‘s most celebrated landmarks .

What is Big Ben?

The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, normally called Big Ben, are among London ‘s most iconic landmarks and must-see London attractions. technically, Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock loom, which weighs more than 13 tons ( 13,760 kilogram ). The clock column looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated .
Two red London buses pass in front of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on a sunny day.

 Big Ben facts

  • Each dial is seven metres in diameter.
  • The minute hands are 4.2 metres long (14ft) and weigh about 100kg (220lbs, including counterweights).
  • The numbers are approximately 60cm (23in) long.
  • There are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial.
  • A special light above the clock faces is illuminated when parliament is in session.
  • Big Ben’s timekeeping is strictly regulated by a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum. 
  • Big Ben has rarely stopped. Even after a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during the Second World War, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to strike the hours.
  • The chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast by the BBC on 31 December 1923, a tradition that continues to this day.
  • The latin words under the clock face read DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM, which means “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”
  • In June 2012 the House of Commons announced that the clock tower was to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.  

When was Big Ben built?

The Palace of Westminster was destroyed by arouse in 1834. In 1844, it was decided the new buildings for the Houses of Parliament should include a column and a clock.

A massive bell was required and the inaugural attempt ( made by John Warner & Sons at Stockton-on-Tees ) cracked irreparably. The metal was melted down and the bell recast in Whitechapel in 1858 .
Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31 May 1859. A shortstop clock time late, in September 1859, Big Ben cracked. A lighter hammer was fitted and the bell rotated to present an undamaged section to the hammer. This is the bell as we hear it today .

How tall is Big Ben?

The clock faces of Big Ben on a sunny day
Elizabeth Tower stands at more than 96 metres ( 105yrds ) grandiloquent, with 334 steps to climb up to the campanile and 399 steps to the Ayrton Light at the very top of the tugboat .

Where is Big Ben?

big Ben is found in the Elizabeth Tower at the union end of The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Central London, following to the river Thames.

There are a respective London bus routes that go past the tugboat, and Westminster Tube station is immediately across the road, serviced by the Jubilee, District and Circle lines. Westminster pier is following to the tower and is served by a number of river bus travel options .

Why is Big Ben called Big Ben?

The origin of the name Big Ben is not known, although two different theories exist .

  • The first is that is was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the first commissioner of works, a large man who was known affectionately in the house as “Big Ben”.
  • The second theory is that it was named after a heavyweight boxing champion at that time, Benjamin Caunt. Also known as “Big Ben”, this nickname was commonly bestowed in society to anything that was the heaviest in its class.

Big Ben chimes

ever wanted to hear what Big Ben sounds like at noon ?

Inside Big Ben and how to visit

boastfully Ben is one of London ‘s top attractions. The Elizabeth Tower is presently closed for renovation, with no public tours available.

You can still join a talk on the Elizabeth Tower or take a tour of the Houses of Parliament adjacent to The Elizabeth Tower. alternatively, watch this sub-rosa video of Big Ben in action .

Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower refurbishment work

In August 2017, renovation knead commenced on Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben. The work is due to concluding three years. During this prison term, the column will be scaffolded and the clock mechanism will be stopped for several months ( no chime or strike ), with the exception of some extra events including New Year ‘s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. Find out more about the renovation .

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