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Big Ben – The Bell of the Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster

Big Ben – The Bell of the Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster

Big Ben – The Bell of the Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster

Local citizens can hear the chimes every hour, of a giant bell ringing in Westminster — an area of Central London, England.

Big Ben is the nickname of that large bell, which is inside the Clock Tower, at the Palace of Westminster.

Fact Frenzy has some interesting facts and interesting trivia about the history of this great bell, and how it may have earned its name.

A fire destroyed most of Parliament in 1834. Soon afterward, plans quickly developed to build a new clock tower in the restoration process.

The Clock Tower of the Palce of Westminster was built, and the bell that later came to be known as Big Ben first rang in July 1859.

Big Ben has had its history of ups and downs.

The first bell that was made cracked while it was being tested (supposedly due to the hammer being too heavy).

A second bell was made, which was the one that was first to chime, and continues to chime today. However it cracked only two months after it was installed. Instead of replacing the bell, they simply turned the bell around so the hammer inside would not hit against the crack when it chimed.

The clock itself has had maintenance and repairs over the years, and at times even stopped running for various durations. But the Clock Tower remains one of the most popular feats of architecture that has proven to be reliable for over 150 years. The Clock Tower is known throughout the world and draws many tourists every year.

UK residents can arrange to get a tour of the Clock Tower, which stands at 96 metres (314 feet) tall. Due to the fact that requests for tours to actually go inside to climb the Clock Tower are in such great demand, requests are only granted to UK residents. Even then, sometimes only those residents with a proven interest in clocks and bells are admitted.

Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell. It’s important not to confuse the name Big Ben with the clock, or the entire Clock Tower, as Big Ben refers only to the bell itself.

How big is the bell?

Huge. Big Ben weighs 13.5 tons. It is 2.7 meters in diameter (almost 9 feet, or 2.9 yards), and is 2.2 meters in height (which is over 7 feet, or almost 2 1/2 yards).

The hammer (the part inside a bell that strikes against the side to make it ring) weighs 200Kgs, or 440Lbs.

How did Big Ben get its name?

It is not officially known how Big Ben got its nickname. However there are two main theories that are believed to be the most popular.

A man name Ben Caunt was a heavyweight boxer, and was famous at the time when everyone was trying to think of a name for the Great Bell. Therefore, some people believe that’s how the name Big Ben came about — an appropriate nickname for a “heavyweight” Great Bell.

Or, perhaps it was named after someone who actually did go by the nickname of Big Ben — Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works, who was also a tall man.

Want to find out more fun facts about Big Ben, and the Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster?

You can visit the official website of Parliament, and read about these facts and more at:http://www.parliament.uk/about/history/big_ben/facts.cfm.

Sources: UK Parliament

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