Introduction to Big Ben
Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks of England. Located in the north of London, this clock tower is the most conspicuous part of the Houses of Parliament. It is an iconic symbol of Britain, associated with democracy and government. Its gothic style and impressive height make it an iconic London monument and a significant historical site.
Built in the mid-19th century, Big Ben has become more than just a clock tower. It stands as a testament to England’s rich history and has become a symbol of strength around the world. The tower has been used in film and television, featured on postcards and souvenirs, and is the subject of much discussion.
The Construction of Big Ben Tower
Big Ben was designed by the renowned British architect Augustus Pugin. The clock tower was actually the third attempt at a permanent tower in the same location. The two prior attempts were faced with structural problems due to subsidence. Pugin’s design included 13 floors of masonry and a four-faced clock whose faces were made of enamel and silver.
Construction of the tower began in 1843 and continued for six years. It was completed in 1859 and its clock officially began ticking for the very first time on July 11, 1859. The clock was considered a marvel of technology and accuracy at the time and has remained remarkably accurate even today.
Interesting Facts about Big Ben
Big Ben stands tall at a height of 316 feet. Its bell, affectionately known as “Big Ben”, is the largest of its kind in the world. The clock face is 23 feet in diameter and the clock mechanism itself is powered by a weight of one and a half tons. The traditional chimes of Big Ben play the Westminster Quarters melody, composed by royal court composer George Frederic Handel in 1747.
Big Ben has been a UK tourist attraction since its completion and is visited by millions annually. Despite its immense popularity, however, visitors cannot go up into the tower as it is not open to the public.
Big Ben’s Historical Significance
Big Ben has served as a bell-tower and clock for the Houses of Parliament since the mid-19th century. Its clock has been running continuously since its construction and has become an iconic symbol of Britain’s history and democracy.
The clock has served a variety of important historical functions. During WWII, Big Ben served as the time of day for BBC radio broadcasts to the rest of Europe. It also is the clock for informing MPs or Lords when it is time to vote. Even today, Big Ben has a role to play in British Democracy as it still chimes before the start of every parliamentary session.
Recent and Future Developments of Big Ben
Big Ben is in the middle of a decade-long renovation project and the clock will remain covered until 2021. The current renovation, costing more than £29 million, is focused on repairing and modernizing the building’s interior. Big Ben’s famous clock is being overhauled as well to make sure it is accurate for the next century.
The renovation is meant to ensure the tower’s survival for centuries to come. The project unites modern technology with historical preservation and will hopefully ensure Big Ben remains an iconic symbol of London and Britain for years to come.
Big Ben stands tall as an important yet iconic symbol of London and the United Kingdom. This masterfully designed clock tower has served as a bell tower and public timekeeper since its completion, and will continue to be one of the most recognizable landmarks of England. Its recent renovations have, and will continue, to ensure that Big Ben will remain a symbol of pride and strength for all of London and the UK.
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