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When we think of big ben in london we think of the clock actually it s the bell

By Morgan Wallace
Published in United Kingdom
February 02, 2024
2 min read
When we think of big ben in london we think of the clock actually it s the bell

When we think of Big Ben in London, we think of the clock. Actually, it’s the bell.

Big Ben

We all know Big Ben, the iconic symbol of London, standing tall and proud in the Palace of Westminster. But did you know that when we think of Big Ben, we often mistakenly associate it with the clock? In reality, Big Ben refers to the great bell housed within the clock tower, not the clock itself.

The clock tower was officially renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. However, it is still commonly known as Big Ben by locals and tourists alike.


The bell, which weighs a staggering 13.5 tons (12.2 metric tonnes), is one of the largest in the world. Its imposing size and distinctive chimes have made it a beloved feature of London’s soundscape for over 160 years. The resonant tones of Big Ben can be heard across the city, marking the passing of time and providing a sense of familiarity to both residents and visitors.

The bell was cast in 1856 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London. It required a team of 16 horses to transport it to the Palace of Westminster. The name “Big Ben” is believed to have been derived from Sir Benjamin Hall, the Commissioner of Works during the construction of the clock tower.

Originally, the bell was accompanied by four smaller quarter bells, each with its own unique sound. These quarter bells continue to mark the quarter-hour intervals between Big Ben’s chimes today, enhancing the auditory experience of the clock tower.

Over the years, Big Ben has become an enduring symbol of British culture and a testament to the architectural and engineering prowess of its time. Its accuracy has been exceptional, only deviating a few seconds per day. Even during the Blitz in World War II, when much of London was in ruins, Big Ben continued to function without interruption, serving as a beacon of hope for the city.

To maintain the accuracy of the timepiece, the original mechanism is wound three times a week by hand. This intricate process ensures that the clock continues to operate smoothly, preserving the legacy of Big Ben for future generations to cherish.

If you ever have the chance to visit London, take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of Big Ben. As you gaze upon this majestic structure, remember that the true essence of Big Ben lies not in the clock, but in the magnificent bell that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide.

Source: Parliament UK


#United Kingdom#General#History#World


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Morgan Wallace

Morgan Wallace

Political journalist

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