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Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname of the Great Bell inside the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster in London, England. Historically a Landmark of the British Government. The name has traditionally been used for the complete Clock Tower itself over the years since it was built. The Clock Tower was renamed "Elizabeth Tower" in September 2012, in celebration of the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee year.

2,159 Questions

Why is the clock tower in London called Big Ben?

It's not. The "Big Ben" moniker technically refers to the bell inside the clock tower—the tower itself is officially called Elizabeth Tower, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. The bell was installed in 1858 and was probably named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a civil engineer and member of the House of Commons whose name is inscribed on the bell.

There is a less likely theory that the bell was named after Ben Caunt, a bare-knuckle boxing champion who went by "Big Ben." Though this theory is a lot more fun, it can't be proven.

How many times does Big Ben chime a day?

It chimes at 15 minute intervals, making it 96 times in a 24-hour period.

When does Big Ben change its time?

Clocks in england change twice a year to equate British summer time. They go forward one hour at the end of March (spring) and go back one hour at the end of October (fall) hence the saying 'spring forward, fall back'

What are facts about big ben?

  • Big Ben is the biggest four-faced, chiming clock in the world.
  • The real name of the tower, housing the clock until October 2012 was the 'Clock Tower', but since October 2012 it's known as 'Elizabeth Tower'. This change in name was brought about in recognition of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
  • Big Ben is actually the nickname of the main bell, formally known as the Great Bell, housed within the tower. However, the nickname is more popular than the official one.
  • A survey of 2,000 people was conducted in 2008 that came up with conclusion that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom.
  • The Clock Tower has incorrectly been called St. Stephen's Tower. However that tower is actually the spired tower towards the middle of the Palace, which serves as the main point of entry for attendees of debates and committees. It is also called Big Tom.
  • Big Ben was built along with the new parliament buildings and palace to replace the Old Palace of Westminster after it was destroyed by fire in October 1834.
  • The clock became operational on 7th September 1859.
  • The building of Big Ben was overseen by architect Charles Barry.
  • The clock tower, clock and its dials were designed by Augustus Pugin.
  • The first 61 meters of Clock Tower are made up of brickwork and stone cladding and the remainder of tower is made from cast iron.
  • The Tower leans slightly towards the northwest by 8.66 inches.
  • The great bell of 'Big Ben' weighs 13.7 tonnes.
  • The bell did not stop working, even during World War 2
  • The tower is sited on a 15-metre square raft, made of 3-metre thick concrete, at 4 meters below ground level.
  • The four faces of the clock are 55 meters above ground. The interior volume of the tower is 4,650 cubic meters
  • At the base of each clock face is a Latin inscription, in gilt letters. It reads - DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM, which means "O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First".
  • Big Ben is the focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and TV stations tuning in to it's chimes to welcome the start of the year.
  • On Remembrance Day, the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
  • ITN's "News at Ten" opening sequence features an image of the Clock Tower, with the sound of Big Ben's chimes punctuating the announcement of the news headlines. It has done so, on and off, for the last 41 years.
  • Turret clocks seen around the world have been inspired by the look of the Great Clock of Big Ben.
  • Big Ben is synonymous as the Great Bell, the Clock and the Tower in which it is encased.
  • Big Ben is actually said to be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a very popular politician of the time and commissioner of the works.
  • Although Big Ben is not open to tourists, you can request an internal visit by asking your local MP.
  • The original great bell was bigger and heavier. It cracked during testing and was removed. The second and current great bell also cracked upon testing. It was patched up and turned for the hammer to strike solid metal. It gives the bell it's distinctive sound.
  • The mechanism is the most accurate of analogue precision and the pendulum is adjusted by adding and removing old pre-decimal penny coins as weights.

Big Ben is actually the nickname of the 14 ton Great Bell of the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster and not the clock itself, although most people now use the name 'Big Ben' for the clock. Big Ben was installed in 1859 and is the largest chiming four-sided clock in the world.

It is not without irony that a flawed and off key bell has sounded over a parliament building for over 150 years.

The first bell cast was a 16 tonner by John Warner ans Sons at the Crescent Foundry, Stockton-on-Tees on 6th August 1856, but it cracked irreparably under test in the palace yard, Westminster. The current bell was cast from the original bell at Whitechapel Foundry on 10th April 1858 and first rang over London on 31st May 1859. It cracked 2 months later because of the overweight hammer fitted. The crack was 'stopped' and the bell turned to present a solid face to the hammer. The fitting of a lighter hammer completed the repair. This is the bell in use today and it remains the biggest bell ever cast by the Whitechapel foundry. The name 'Big Ben' was the nickname of the most famous heavyweight boxer of the day, Benjamin Caunt. It is entirely plausible that the biggest and most famous bell was imbued with the name of the most popular public hero of the time.

Where is Big Ben?

The British Houses of Parliament in the borough of Westminster, London, England has a four sided clock Tower.

The clock chimes every 15 minutes and strikes on the hour, every hour. The largest and deepest bell 'Big Ben' strikes the number of the hour - once at one o'clock, twice at two o'clock and so on.

'Big Ben' is in fact the nickname of the 'Great bell' - the biggest and heaviest bell in the tower at 13.5 tons, but it has become synonymous for the whole building itself, including the bell, clock and tower to be called 'Big Ben'. In September 2012 the tower was renamed 'Elizabeth Tower' in honour and celebration of the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.

The Radio Station BBC Radio 4 uses the chimes of Big Ben to introduce its News programmes at 6 pm and Midnight, local time and you can hear it in the link below. Large clock, landmark in London, england

What can you do in Big Ben?

Nothing. It isn't open to the public.

The public can visit the tower by appointment only, made through your local Member of Parliament. You can climb the 300 odd steps to the clock and see the workings and bells.

Who ruled England when Big Ben was built?

The Palace of Westminster in London contains the British Houses of Parliament, and the clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.

The palace was built over 30 years (1840-1870) Big Ben itself however was completed on 10 April 1858 , during the reign of Queen Victoria.

England is one of the four major territories which make up The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - the others are Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

During Queen Victoria's reign, the United Kingdom included all of Ireland - she was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, not Queen of England.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the 10 April 1858 was Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, (1799-1869).

Does Big Ben Chime at night?

Yes. All through the night.

Even at night when there's little traffic, it's surprisingly difficult to hear the chimes much beyond Parliament Square so there's no real reason why it shouldn't.

How many hands does the clock of big ben have?

Big Ben, or to put it correctly: 'The Elizabeth Tower', has four clock faces, and on each of those faces there are two hands. This is a grand total of eight.

'Big Ben' is actually the name of the bell housed inside the tower.

What is Big Ben?

Big Ben is the name of the great bell, the biggest bell within the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster at the Houses of Parliament in London.

It weighs approx 13.5 tonnes & was cast in 1856. Amongst other bells, Big Ben rings out striking each hour on the hour.

Big Ben is often wrongly used to name the clock (which is the biggest 4 face chiming clock in the world).

Big Ben, nicknamed after Sir Benjamin Hall, a popular member of Parliament of the time and commissioner of works, is now more commonly known as the complete clock and tower as well as the bell.

In September 2012 the Clock tower was renamed 'Elizabeth Tower' in honour and celebration of the queens Diamond Jubilee.

What is Big Ben made of?

"Big Ben" (or to give it it's proper name, The Great Bell) is cast out of bellmetal, which is an alloy of bronze and tin.

Big Ben clock tower, now renamed Elizabeth Tower, is made from brickwork covered by limestone cladding for the first 200 feet (61 metres) and the remaining 115 feet (35 metres) is a framed cast iron spire.

Where did the name Big Ben come from?

Big Ben is synonymous as the Great Bell, the Clock and the Tower in which it is encased.

Big Ben was supposedly named after Sir Benjamin Hall who was Commisioner of Works when the bell was installed. The people of London started calling it Big Ben and the name stuck. It was going to be named after Queen Victoria originally though.

Is big ben the biggest clock in the world?

Yes, it is the biggest clock in the world.

It is or was the biggest 4 sided Clock Tower in the World.

Who built Big Ben?

Big Ben was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison. And it was built by Messrs E.J. Dent and Co. Sir Charles Barry drew the designs, and architect Edward Pent and his son Frederick Pent built it.

Charles Barry, chief architect turned to Augustus Pugin to help design the tower and clock dials in his neo-gothic style. It was pugin's last major work before he went mad then died aged 40. Charles Barry also died as it was nearing completion. The tower took 16 years to build and was finished and working in 1859. In 2009 it celebrated 150 years.

See the related link below for more information on Augustus Welby Northbourne Pugin.

Is the Eiffel Tower taller than Big Ben?

The Eiffel Tower is taller than Big Ben. Eiffel Tower Height is about 1,063 feet, while Big Ben, which is the bell is about 2.2 metres tall. If your looking for the height of the tower, of which Big Ben is in, then it's 316 feet.

How many people visit Big Ben each year?

Since Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower are landmarks in London, millions of people see them each year.

Residents of the UK may arrange to tour the Elizabeth Tower and climb up the stairs, but tours must be arranged through their local MP or a Member of the House of Lords whom they know.

No specific visitor number information can be found, however, there are three tours per week day, excluding Bank Holidays. An estimated number would be that about 75,000 people are actually able to tour the Elizabeth Tower and climb the stairs each year.

Big Ben is actually the nickname of the 14 ton Great Bell, but has over the years, incorrectly referred to the tower and clock as well.

What is the big clock called in London?

Before WWII it was affectionately referred to as "Big Belt", due to the size someone would have to be to wear it as a fob watch.

However, when the Germans blitz-bombed England one of their primary targets was "Big Belt" and the Westminster tower. Through the months-long bombing raids, everyone assumed the clock to be destroyed, and started falling it the "Big Has Been". When the Germans were finally forced to stop the raids, and the Londoners came out of the Underground, they saw that it had withstood everything the Germans could throw at it.

From that major psychological victory, the British rose up and in one mighty battle, totally destroyed Germany. From then forward it was officially renamed, "Big Been". Due to the generally illiterate condition of the Londoners however, (After spending four years in the London Underground, schools no longer existed in England), the re-naming petition misspelled it as "Big Ben".

"And now you know the rest of the story."