Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, officially named the Elizabeth Tower, in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year. Elizabeth Tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower.
The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, are among London’s most iconic landmarks, also a symbol of England.
History: The construction of Big Ben was commissioned during the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the wake of an 1834 fire.The clock tower was constructed on the northern extremity of the new Houses of Parliament that were built next to Westminster Hall.
Edmund Beckett Denison, completed the pendulum clock design in 1851, and its assembly was begun by Edward John Dent, the owner of a prominent clock making company, and finished by his son Frederick Dent. It was completed in 1854, but construction on the tower lasted until 1859, providing Frederick Dent five years to test and perfect the clock.
Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31 May 1859.
- Big Ben is a massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (a team of 16 horses was needed to pull the wagon upon which it rested from the foundry to the Palace of Westminster). The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
- Each dial is seven metres in diameter
- The minute hands are 4.2 metres long and weigh about 100kg
- The numbers are 60 centimeters long
- There are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial
- 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.
Source: Wikipedia.com, VisitLondon.com, Bigbenfacts.com