Big Ben is one of the most iconic landmarks in London, England. However, there is a common misconception regarding the name “Big Ben.” In fact, Big Ben refers specifically to the large bell inside the clock tower, rather than the tower itself. The official name of the tower is the Elizabeth Tower, and it is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster.
The construction of the Elizabeth Tower, including the installation of the clock and the Big Ben bell, was completed in 1859. The tower stands at a height of 96 meters (315 feet) and has become a symbol of London’s rich history and architectural grandeur.
The Big Ben bell itself is impressive, weighing around 13.7 tons (13,760 kilograms). It is renowned for its melodious chimes, which have marked the passing of time for over a century. The clock mechanism is also remarkable, and it is known for its accuracy and reliability.
The clock mechanism of Big Ben is renowned for its accuracy. It is regulated by a stack of old British pennies placed on the pendulum. Adding or removing a penny can adjust the clock’s speed by about 0.4 seconds per day.
The clock mechanism within the tower is officially known as the Great Westminster Clock. It features four faces, each measuring 7 meters (23 feet) in diameter, making it one of the largest clock faces in the world.
Big Ben occasionally goes silent for maintenance and repairs. The most recent prolonged silence occurred in 2017 when the clock tower underwent a major renovation that lasted for four years. However, the chimes of Big Ben still ring out on special occasions and events.
While the tower was completed in 1859, the first chimes of Big Ben were heard on May 31, 1859. Therefore, it can be said that the bell began marking time on this day in 1859, although the entire construction project was finished a bit earlier.
Today, the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben are major tourist attractions in London. Visitors can admire the impressive architecture, learn about the history of the clock tower, and enjoy the famous chimes that resonate across the city.