lunamarina/ Shutterstock: Big Ben Clock Tower and Thames river in London at England
When you think about London, certain places stand out for their grandeur— London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben are the first ones that spring to mind.
Big Ben is among the most iconic landmarks in human history and attracts travelers from all around the globe in significant numbers.What is so special about it, and what is the history behind the towering monument? We explore this and more in this tell-all article.
The Big Facts
Bryan Busovicki/Shutterstock: Big Ben – London, England
Big Ben actually isn’t the name of the clock, nor of the tower, but it is the name of the chiming bell. Weighing an astounding 13.7 tonnes, it was crafted in 1838.
The interesting fact is, the current bell isn’t the original one— that one cracked during the testing process, and a new bell was ordered.
The tower was also renamed to Elizabeth Tower in 2012.
What’s in the Name?
The name itself sounds odd to many people because why in the world is a bell named ‘Big Ben?’ History is a little blurry when it comes to explaining the origins of this title.
Some folks think that it’s named after the man who oversaw the first installations, Sir Benjamin Hall. Other people seem to believe that it was named after a champion heavyweight boxer, Benjamin Caunt. Either way, a famous Ben inspired the name of this landmark.
The Fault in Our Engineering
It is interesting to know that London has its own Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Elizabeth Tower has been tilting at rough 0.04 degrees and doesn’t stand up straight. It is not as apparent at a glance, but on a closer look, you can notice it.
Askolds Berovskis/Shutterstock: Big Ben clock in London maintenance repairs
The famous attraction has been standing tall since 1859, but over time it has become dilapidated and in need of repairs. The UK government has been conducting repairs since 2017 and is near completion.
To ensure that the Elizabeth Tower remains standing for generations to come, the authorities are working to rejuvenate the structure.Although the merry chimes of the bell are missed by locals and tourists alike, it still sounds for momentous occasions.
In history, there have only been two instances during which the tower was shut down. When it was instated, and the bell cracked, the bell did not ring for four long years.
Fortunately, the damage was repairable, and after a new bell was put in place, the tower continued to function for many years. In 1976 and 2007, the bell remained silent, and both times, the reason was for repairs.
Next time you are in Great Britain, see Big Ben in an enlightened light,given this new found wisdom!