Big Ben, a World Famous and Iconic Clock Tower

Big Ben
Big Ben in the distance

Big Ben has become a symbol of the United Kingdom, particularly in the visual media. When a television or film-maker wishes to indicate a generic location in England, a popular way to do so is to show an image of the tower, often with a red double-decker bus or black cab in the foreground. I tried my best to replicate one of these famous shots but no bus or cab would work with me that morning.

Big Ben
Westminster Bridge at the foot of Big Ben
Big Ben
Standing on Westminster Bridge

The clock inside the tower was the world’s largest when it was installed in the middle of the nineteenth century and is still the largest in Great-Britain. Technically, the name Big Ben refers to the clock’s hour bell inside the clock tower, largest of the clock’s five bells which weighs more than 13 tons.  The other four are used as quarter bells. They believe that the hour bell was named after Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works.

The tower was constructed between 1843 and 1858 as the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The palace is now better known as the Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately the clock tower is not publicly accessible and you can only enter the Houses of Parliament on certain days.

Big Ben
Big Ben is quite well guarded

Big Ben is known for its reliability, it has rarely failed during its long life span. Even after the nearby House of Commons was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the clock kept on chiming.

Big Ben
Me in front of Big Ben
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