The Elizabeth Tower, formerly known as the Clock Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, is located on the banks of the River Thames in London, England. It is a clock tower attached to the Palace of Westminster, the United Kingdom's House of Parliament, and has long become a landmark of London.
Big Ben has an old ornate Victorian Gothic style. Designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and built by Edward Dent and his son Frederick, the tower is one of the world's most famous Gothic buildings. During Parliament, the clock face glows, chiming every hour according to Greenwich Mean Time.
On June 2, 2012, 331 members of Parliament, including senior members of the three main parties, supported the motion to change the "bell tower" to "Elizabeth Tower" to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. On June 26 of the same year, Big Ben officially changed its name to the Elizabeth Tower.
Description of The Elizabeth Tower Size
Big Ben is the third tallest freestanding clock tower in the world. On May 31, 2009, Big Ben celebrated its 150th birthday. Over more than a century, it has rarely stopped. Elizabeth Tower uses the Greenwich Observatory's timekeeping instruments to calibrate time. The clocks on Elizabeth Tower are hand-wound, Big Ben loses power every three days, and watchmakers must climb up three times a week to wind the clock. Big Ben has been running accurately for more than 100 years. Even during World War II, the entire city of London experienced more than a thousand air raids, and Elizabeth Tower still transmits a melodious and steady bell. Nowadays, the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower are among London's most iconic landmarks and must-see London attractions. The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
Height of The Elizabeth Tower and the Clock Size
The clocks are installed on the 96 meters high (316 feet) of Elizabeth Tower on the east side of the Parliament Building on Westminster Bridge North. The interior of the Bell Chamber in Elizabeth Tower is an extremely intricate contraption that includes levers, pulleys, and gears. Each clock weighs 13.5 tons (13,760 kg), and the dial is set in an iron frame with a diameter of 7 meters (23 feet), supporting 312 opals that look like colored windows. The hour and minute hands lengths are 2.75 meters and 4.27 meters, and the pendulum weighs 305 kilograms. The perimeter of the dial is decorated with gold plating. The base of each clock face is engraved with an inscription in Latin. It is the largest clock in the UK, and the second-largest in the world, facing four directions simultaneously.
|The Elizabeth Tower Height||96 m (316 ft)|
|Each Clock Weight||13.5 tons (13,760 kg)|
|Dial Diameter||7 m (23 ft)|
|Hour Hand Length||2.75 m (9 ft)|
|Minute Hand Length||4.27 m (14 ft)|
Historical Significance of Big Ben
The prototype of Big Ben was built during the reign of Edward I from 1288 to 1290. In 1834, a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster. Charles Barry worked as the chief architect to rebuild the Palace of Westminster, and Augustus Putin provided the design of the Clock Tower. In September 1843, the construction of Big Ben began. On April 10, 1858, the Clock Tower was finally completed.
In the UK, people regard the Elizabeth Tower as the most important symbol to celebrate the New Year, and TV and radio will broadcast its bells to welcome the beginning of the new year. Locals spend almost all important British festivals or anniversaries in the melodious bells of Big Ben.
Since it was put into service in 1859, the British government has carried out maintenance on Big Ben every five years, including cleaning the bell body, replacing the timekeeping of the Elizabeth Tower, and running the gear train. Every summer and winter, the clock stops for repairs and parts replacement when the time changes. On August 14, 2017, the House of Commons of the British Parliament announced that Big Ben would be repaired. Except for important moments such as New Year's Eve, Big Ben no longer rings. In May 2022, Big Ben will return with a brand new look after nearly five years of renovations.