Big Ben – The Great Westminster Clock

Big Ben – The Great Westminster Clock

The Big Ben (The Great Westminster Clock) is 96.3 meters high and has four dials, each 7 meters in diameter. The minute hand alone is 4 meters long, and the hour hand is 2.7 meters long. The clock once held the record for having the world’s heaviest bell, but a clock in Wisconsin has this record now.

Big Ben - The Great Westminster Clock Dial

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The name Big Ben actually refers to the largest of the five bells in the tower that strikes every hour. The other four bells strike each quarter hour.

Big Ben Bell

The great bell was cast twice. The first, a sixteen-ton bell was cast in 1856 by John Warner and Sons. The clock was temporarily suspended in the courtyard of the Westminster Palace, while the bell tower was still under construction. However, there soon appeared a crack in the bell and it was therefore cast again in 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry at 13.5 tons. Unfortunately, there also appeared a crack in this bell, but this time they decided to repair the crack instead of casting a new bell. To prevent new cracks, they decided to use a lighter hammer for the bell.

Big Ben - The Great Westminster Clock London

The clock was probably named after Benjamin Hall, the minister of public works. According to some sources, however, the clock was named after Benjamin Caunt, a British heavyweight boxing champion.

The clock tower has cells that were used until 1880 for confining members of parliament for breach of parliamentary privileges. The tower itself is not open to the general public, but only in special cases you can try to arrange a visit, with a Member of Parliament or minister.

The Great Westminster Clock - Big Ben - and Westminster

Big Ben has become an important part of the massive New Year’s celebrations in the UK. The countdown to 12 o’clock is done by the Big Ben. The Big Ben has become a landmark for London and is featured in many movies and series.

The Big Ben - The Great Westminster Clock at New Years celebration

Would you like to visit the Big Ben in London? Check out our England Holidays page, and book your holiday to England, safe and secure online.

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