Big Ben, one of London's icons, is part of the Palace of Westminster. Contrary to popular belief, Big Ben is not the name of the clock tower, but the bell inside the tower. The name of the tower was changed to Elizabeth Tower in 2012. Big Ben is located at the far north of the Parliament Building in central London, by the River Thames.
The Big Ben bell is very large and heavy. It weighs 13.7 tons and is 2.2 feet tall. Its diameter is 2.8 feet. There are two theories as to where Big Ben's name came: From Sir Benjamin Hall, the parliament employee nicknamed Big Ben, or Benjamin Caunt, the heavyweight boxing champion.
Elizabeth Tower, built in 1859, is located to the north of Westminster Palace and is open to tourist visits. The tower is 96 meters long. There is a giant clock with a diameter of 7.5 meters on all four sides of the tower. The 14-ton bells make a loud sound every hour. After climbing the 334-step tower on the Big Ben tour, you reach the Ayrton Light at the top of the tower and enter the clock mechanism and see this magnificent historical clock closer.
History of Big Ben
Westminster Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1834. In 1844, it was decided to build the current parliament building. A tower and clock had to be added to the new building to be built. Also, a large bell was required. In 1856, a bell was attached to the tower located next to the Parliament building. The attached bell first rang in memory of Queen Victoria to commemorate her. In the commemoration held with a big ceremony, the bell was brought to the field by a barge on the Themes river and then a vehicle pulled by 16 horses. During the initial construction work, the bell was broken beyond repair. In 1859, the problem was solved by relocating the place of the bell clockwise by turning it a quarter slice, and the bell was not broken again. On May 31, 1859, Big Ben could ring for the first time. Soon after, in September 1859, Big Ben was broken again. A lighter hammer was placed in its place, and the bell took its present form. However, it is not always used as a precaution due to the crack on it. The bell that was silenced from time to time was last silenced in 2007.
Big Ben and its bells are the best indicators of the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound. When you stand at the base of the Elizabeth Tower and the bell rings, you will hear the bell chime at a sixth of a second. However, those who listen to the bell live on the radio will hear the sound sooner.