Photographer's Note

There are still many tourists alike often say “Big Ben” when referring to the landmark tower at the Houses of Parliament. That's incorrect. Formerly known as the Clock Tower, the structure was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It is the giant bell in the belfry of the tower that is called Big Ben

It is believed Big Ben was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works, whose name is inscribed on the bell. Others attest that the bell was named after Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight boxer. The bell was originally meant to be called Royal Victoria.

That bell cracked during testing in October 1857. A second replacement bell was cast by George Mears at London’s Whitechapel Foundry in April 1858. That bell broke too. A crack developed in 1859 but the problem was solved when the bell was turned a quarter clockwise and chimed with a lighter hammer.

The bell is due to again fall silent. Commencing in 2017, extensive repair, conservation and refurbishment works are scheduled to last three years and for a period of several months over this time the clock mechanism will need to be stopped. This will mean an extended period without any striking, chiming or tolling, with exceptions being made for important events such as London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and Remembrance Day

The Elizabeth Tower stands 315ft (96 metres) tall and holds 11 floors

Big Ben weighs 13.7 tonnes, stands 7.2ft (2.2 metres) tall and has a diameter of 8.9ft (2.7 metres). The hammer weighs 200kg

The renovation work will also provide the tower with its first toilet

The tower leans. It has an inclination of about 1/250 (0.04 degrees) – just about noticeable to passersby who take the time to study its exterior closely.

Until December 2016 it was possible for UK residents to join free tours of the Elizabeth Tower, culminating with a visit to Big Ben. These tours have been suspended for the duration of the works and should recommence in 2020

The clock was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison and Edward Dent. Surprisingly, Beckett Denison trained as a lawyer rather than as a clockmaker


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Additional Photos by Ralf Lai (kim_gwan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 99 W: 0 N: 368] (1142)
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