Visit the big ben - Parliament Clock Tower, is home to the largest four-faced chiming bell in the world that makes this so special. Explore the facts associated with its history and physical features.
When one speaks of visiting London, Big Ben is a must-see. London has many landmarks, but none is more popular than the Big Ben.Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is generally extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. This clock tower is probably the most prominent and well known tourist attraction in not only London, but England as well. This four-faced freestanding clock is the third largest clock tower in the world. It recently celebrated its 150th anniversary last May. It may be one of the most well-known tourist destinations or attractions in the world, but the insides of the tower remains unseen by the general public because of security reasons. However, at certain times, the press and other personalities are given right of entry.
Its history and Victorian structure attracts millions of tourists every year. It is located on the side of the House of Parliament in Westminster, London. But, what makes this tower so special? The tower is home to the largest four-faced chiming bell in the world. Additionally, Big Ben is 315 foot high—making it the third tallest free standing clock tower. The Big Ben Tower was built in the place where a part of the Palace of Westminster got burnt due to an accidental fire in 1860. To rebuild the destroyed portion, the government held a design contest, in which British architect, Charles Barry was selected over 96 others. The Clock Tower was not there, though, in his initial designs. He incorporated them later with help from another architect, Augustus Pugin.
As for the clock, the credit goes to more than one person. The Queen’s Clockmaker, Benjamin Lewis Vuillamy was the first to start designing the clock. Then came Edward John Dent, who with the help of an amateur clockmaker (and professional lawyer) Edmund Beckett Denison, designed and planned a clock that met the high standards of clock-making referee, Sir George Airy. Finally, 1859 was the year when the great clock of the Big Ben was installed. It works perfectly and has a precision to within a second.
Interesting facts of Big Ben Clock Tower
- The great tourist attraction of london, Big Ben is actually the name of the huge bell, but most people use it to refer to the clock and the tower as well. It is the world’s largest chiming clock with four faces.
- The clock tower was built between 1843 and 1858 and is 316 feet high and it is part of the Palace of Westminster. Although the public is not allowed inside, there are great views from the nearby London Eye.
- Big Ben was probably named for the Commissioner of Works, Benjamin Hall, a man well known for his large size.
- The clock tower, most visited tourist attraction of london has featured in dozens of movies, including Shanghai Knights and the 1978 version of The 39 Steps. Both films feature an exciting climax with the hero hanging from the clock hands.
- The minute hand on Big Ben weighs about 220 pounds and is just over 12 feet long. Every year, the hand travels the equivalent of about 118 miles.
- Pennies are still placed on the mechanism to ensure the clock is as accurate as possible. The clock gains 2/5 of a second in a day when one penny is added.
- An inscription in Latin in gold letters along the bottom of each of the clock faces reads ‘O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First’.
- The largest monument and tourist attraction in london, the Big Ben’s chimes have been famous for over 150 years. During World War 2, the sound of the chimes being broadcast told the world that Britain had not been defeated.
- A Big Ben LEGO set has been produced. Part of the LEGO Architecture series, the set (21013) has over 340 pieces.
- The bell is just over seven feet tall, and weighs about the same as an elephant. When it was cast in 1858, it took two weeks for the bell to cool down.
- There is still a crack in the bell which occurred in 1859. At the time, it was considered too difficult to remove the bell to repair it.
Big Ben- Tourist Attraction in London
Big Ben, as the world’s most famous timepiece is known, is a favorite London landmark and a sight kids like to photograph. Big Ben is one of London’s best-known landmarks, tourist attraction and looks most spectacular at night when the clock faces are illuminated. Famous around the world for keeping impeccable time, the Big Ben Clock Tower was fully operational on September 7th, 1859. The Big Ben Clock is used to ring in the London New Year and is a rallying point for the New Year’s celebration of the entire country of England. The BBC also broadcasts the chiming of the bells on Remembrance Day to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month; the end of World War I. A famous symbol of Parliament and all things English throughout the world, the Big Ben Clock is visible from many locations in London and is well worth visiting. So have a plan to visit this great tourist attraction and landmark of london.