Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It is the clock tower. The name Big Ben is often used to describe the clock tower that is part of the Palace of Westminster.
Officially "Big Ben" does not refer to the clock tower but instead to the huge thirteen ton Great Bell located at the top of the 320-foot-high tower.
The clock tower is now called The Elizabeth Tower. It was called St Stephen's Tower by Victorian journalists. They referred to anything to do with the House of Commons as news from 'St Stephens', as originally MP's used to sit in St Stephen's Hall.
Big Ben is situated on the banks of the River Thames on the north side of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
The Big Ben bell has the following measurements:
9'-0" diameter, 7'-6" high, and weighs 13 tons 10 cwts 3 qtrs 15lbs (13,760 Kg)
Big Ben chimes every 15 minutes and the sound can be heard for a radius of up to 5 miles.
Big Ben is the world's largest four-faced chiming clock.
The clock became operational on 7th September 1859.
The four faces of the clock are 55 meters above ground.
The clock faces are 23 feet (7m) in diameter.
The hour hand is 9 ft (2.7m) long, and the minute hand is 14 ft (4.3m) long.
The pendulum is 3.9m long, weighs 300Kg and beats once every 2 seconds.
At the base of each clock face is a Latin inscription, in gilt letters. It reads -
“Domine salvam fac Reginam nostrum Victoriam Primam”
"O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First"
The clock tower is the focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and TV stations tuning to its chimes to welcome the start of the year.
On Remembrance Day, the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
A light in the clock tower tells when the House of Commons is in session.
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