Big Ben the clock on the tower of the houses of parliament along with the red buses and cabs of London are part of the visual symbols of the UK. It is featured often on visual media to identify a generic location in the country. Halkin by COMO London, a luxury boutique hotel London in fashionable Belgravia is the place to be located to visit iconic city sites.
The clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, the houses of parliament in London has been known as Big Ben ever since anyone can remember and has been one of the iconic structures that are identified with London. It has the distinction of being the largest four faced chiming clock in the world. Although renamed as Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the British Queen’s diamond jubilee it is never going to replace the name Big Ben in the public’s imagination.
The 315 foot tower which was completed in 1858 was designed in the Gothic Revival Style to suit the architecture of the houses of parliament which were designed in the same style. Although one of London’s biggest tourist draws, tours of the towers interior are unfortunately only open to UK nationals. The popularity of this is in doubt as there is no lift and anyone wishing to see the interior has to negotiate 334 limestone stairs. Obviously the views of London from the top are fantastic.
The name Big Ben really applies to the great bell in the tower. Four quarter bells are also part of the mechanism that gives out the distinctive time signals famous around the world.
The clock and its faces designed by the architect Augustus Pugin are set in an iron frame 23 feet in diameter and comprise of 312 pieces of opal glass similar to a stained glass window. The parts around the dials are gilded and a Latin inscription also gilded is at the base of the dials. Everyone passing that way gets their time from Big Ben as it is famously reliable. It was observed that Big Ben had a slight tilt to the northwest by 233 millimeters. After the excavations for the construction of the Jubilee Line extension and the Westminster tube station the tilt is more pronounced and can be observed by the naked eye. Big Ben breaks down from time to time and stops for various weather related and manmade conditions. The bells of Big Ben are intentionally silenced as a mark of respect for great statesmen and women.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+