Big Ben is one of the most important attributes of the British capital. It is a unique symbol of Great Britain, known to almost every person on the planet.
Big Ben Facts Each dial is seven metres in diameter The minute hands are 4.2 metres long and weigh about 100kg The numbers are approximately 60cm long There are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial
The History of Big Ben The Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in In 1844, it was decided the new buildings for the Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock. A massive bell was required and the first attempt (made by John Warner & Sons at Stockton-on- Tees) cracked irreparably. The metal was melted down and the bell recast in Whitechapel in Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31 May A short time later, in September 1859, Big Ben cracked. A lighter hammer was fitted and the bell rotated to present an undamaged section to the hammer. This is the bell as we hear it today.
Big Ben has rarely stopped. Even after a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during the Second World War, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to strike the hours.
The chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast by the BBC on 31 December 1923, a tradition that continues to this day. In June 2012 the House of Commons announced that the clock tower was to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.