The 316 foot high Clock Tower is the world’s largest four-faced, chiming clock. The structure completed between 1858-59 is situated at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
It is often colloquially referred to as Big Ben, which is actually the nickname of the main bell housed within the tower (formally known as the Great Bell). The bell weighing over 13 tons, was cast in 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London. To this day one of the largest bells they have ever cast.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry also cast the Liberty Bell, along with hand bells, tower bells, clock bells, carillons, and turret bells for all over the world.
Big Ben is named, probably, after Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works.
The Clock Tower has also been referred to as The Tower of Big Ben and, incorrectly, St Stephen’s Tower, which is actually the spired tower towards the middle of the Palace and is also the main point of entry for attendees of debates and committees.
Each clock face is over 7m in diameter. When the Houses of Parliament sits by night a light in the Clock Tower burns above Big Ben. Old pennies act as counterweights to ensure Big Ben keeps time to the nearest second.
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