Big Ben serves as one of London’s most beloved and iconic landmarks. This clock tower was built in honor of Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century and now stands tall and proud at the Palace of Westminster. It was officially known as ‘The Clock Tower’ but in 2012, however, the official name was changed to Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Big Ben was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works. Some people say it was named after Benjamin Caunt, a heavyweight boxing champion.
Quick Facts: –
- The Clock Tower was designed by the English architect Augustus Pugin. The clock became operational on 7th September 1859.
- It chimed for the first time on July 11, 1859 but it would not ring for long because of a crack.
- Big Ben’s chimes were broadcast over the radio on January 1, 1924 for the first time.
- The bell chimes every 15 minutes and the sound can be heard for a radius of up to 5 miles.
- There are four smaller bells beneath Big Ben that ring on the ‘quarter’ hours.
- The tower endured a German bomb in 1941. Although minor ornamental work became tarnished.
- The tower serves as the focal point of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom.
- Each face of the clock is illuminated by 23 light bulbs. The clock faces remained unlit during World War II to comply with wartime blackout rules.
- Various thermal effects throughout the year cause the tower to oscillate a few millimeters east and west.