May 20, 2022 – Big Ben

Big Ben in the background

This is a photo of me in front of Big Ben taken by my lovely wife of forty years.

The tower is actually at Parliament and is called Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is the bell inside of Elizabeth tower. The bell weighs more than 13 tons.

The dials are all seven meters in diameter. The minute hands are 14 feet long and weigh 220 pounds each. The numbers are 23 inches tall. There are 312 pieces of glass in each dial.

When Parliament is session a special light is turned on above the clock face.

After the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834 the powers that be decided to build new buildings for Parliament and included a clock tower.

The bell was cast by John Warner and Sons at Stockton-on-tees but cracked. That bell was melted down and recast at Whitechapel in 1858.

On May 31, 1859 the bell rang over Westminster for the first time.

In September 1859 the bell cracked again. It was rotated and a smaller hammer was installed to strike the bell.

Elizabeth Tower is at the north end of the Houses of Parliament and stands 96 meters tall. It is 334 steps to the belfry and 399 steps to reach the Ayrton Light at the top of the tower.

There are two stories as to where the name comes from.

One story says that it was named for Sir Benjamin Hall. He was the first commissioner of works who was known as “Big Ben.” The other tale is that it was named after a heavyweight boxing champion of that era.”Big Ben” was his nickname as well.

We happened to arrive just after the scaffolding was removed. It was a beautiful site to see and brought back many memories of previous visits to this great and historic city.

There are still more stories and photos to come.