16 Interesting facts about London Big Ben



One of London's most symbolic landmarks and a prominent feature of the capital's iconic skyline, the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster is a main sightseeing attraction visited by thousands of tourists every year.

The Name

Affectionately referred to as Big Ben, the Clock Tower was officially renamed as the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Great Bell of the clock, weighing in at over 13 tons, acquired the nickname of Big Ben which is often extended as a reference to the clock tower itself. There are a couple of theories for the origin of this nickname, the most likely being that the Great Bell was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner for Works between 1855 - 1858. Alternatively the bell could have been named after Ben Caunt, an 1850's champion heavyweight boxer.

Construction

On the 28th September 1843, the foundation was laid for what was to be the tower which would house the largest clock in the world, at the time. The tower was completed in 1859 and to this day, the 96 metre (315 ft) tall structure houses what remains the largest clock in Great Britain and the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. Due to a 5 year delay of the work being completed, there were no official celebrations for the opening of the Clock Tower, however celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Elizabeth Tower took place 31st May 2009.

Did you know?

1. The Elizabeth Tower is situated at the north end of the Palace of Westminster which is more familiarly known as the Houses of Parliament.
2. Big Ben chimes every fifteen minutes and can be heard for up to five miles around.
3. The first chime of Big Ben was heard on the 31st of May, 1859.
4. Without a doubt, Big Ben is big! However the largest bell in London can be found in St Paul's Cathedral.
5. The weather vane at the top of the clock tower is known as Little Ben!
6. The Union Flag is flown from the Victoria Tower whenever Parliament is in session.
7. The time of the clock is adjusted every year using an old British penny. If the clock is too fast, a penny is added to the pendulum, or if it is too slow, one penny is removed.
8. Big Ben is the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom.
9. The Clock Tower is often mistakenly known as the St Stephen's Tower which is really located on the west side of the Palace of Westminster and is used as the public entrance.
10. The Elizabeth Tower was built from the inside outwards, meaning that no scaffolding was visible to the outside world. 
11. There are 334 steps to the top of the clock tower however it is not open to the public to use for viewing the city.
13. The clock tower is actually a little slanted and leans slightly towards the northwest by 8.66 inches. This is due to some tunnel excavation close by. Since 2003, it tilts by almost a millimeter per year.
14. The clock faces are over seven meters in diameter and are cleaned every five years by abseilers using soap and water.
15. 'Big Ben' has become one of the most well-known symbols of both London and England and is frequently featured in films set in the city. It remains the most iconic film location in the capital.
16. Big Ben chimed thirty times to welcome in the official start of the London Olympic Games on 27th July 2012.

London Big Ben Souvenirs

No trip to one of the world's most famous clock towers is complete without acquiring a small memento from your visit, and the iconic London clock tower we all lovingly refer to as Big Ben is no exception. There is a superb variety of Big Ben souvenirs and gifts available, from pin badges and bottle openers to crystal paperweights and even replica Big Ben models with real working clocks!

15cm Crystal Big Ben Model with Gold Plated Facing
15cm Crystal Big Ben Model with Gold Plated FacingCrystal Big Ben model with gold plated facing Packed in a presentation box making these Ideal novelties
Crystal Big Ben Model
Crystal Big Ben ModelA Crystal Big Ben model packed in a presentation box making these the perfect souvenirs to take back from a trip to London
Large Photographic Big Ben Magnet
Large Photographic Big Ben MagnetBring the magnificence and splendour of Big Ben to your fridge door with this large printed photographic picture magnet ...
17cm Light Up Gold Plated Crystal Big Ben Clock
17cm Light Up Gold Plated Crystal Big Ben ClockAn absolutely stunning treat from the capital This gold plated Crystal Big Ben Clock has colour changing lights Packed in ...
21cm Large Boxed Big Ben Model
21cm Large Boxed Big Ben ModelThis stunning 21cm tall Big Ben replica model is one of the classic keepakes of England and a wonderful idea for a ...
22cm Light Up Gold Plated Crystal Big Ben Clock
22cm Light Up Gold Plated Crystal Big Ben ClockStunning crystal model of Big Ben with a real clock and gold plated facing Complete with built in colour changing lights ...
Acrylic Big Ben Magnet
Acrylic Big Ben MagnetLarge acrylic shaped England fridge Magnet with a colourful image of Big Ben Makes great souvenirs and handy for sticking ...
Big Ben Souvenir Pendant Keyring
Big Ben Souvenir Pendant KeyringGold coloured metal Big Ben pendant keyrings make great presents and lightweight ideas to take back for friends and ...
Antique Silver Big Ben Bead for Charm Bracelet
Antique Silver Big Ben Bead for Charm BraceletBig Ben one of the most prominent symbols of England will make a significant addition to your charm bracelet perhaps as a ...
Large London Big Ben Magnet
Large London Big Ben MagnetThis resin souvenir fridge magnet featuring Big Ben a famous England landmark would go great with your collection
Colour Changing Light Up Big Ben Laser Art Crystal
Colour Changing Light Up Big Ben Laser Art CrystalA novel idea capture the splendour of Big Ben with this intricately designed laser engraved crystal with built in colour ...
Crystal Big Ben Clock
Crystal Big Ben ClockThis crystal Big Ben Clock is packed in a presentation box making it just the thing to give to your family or best friend
Gilt Gold Diecast Metal Big Ben Magnet
Gilt Gold Diecast Metal Big Ben MagnetThis souvenir gilt Big Ben magnet is a fun accessory which can be placed wherever you want to add some London charm
Gold Metal London Big Ben Bottle Opener Magnet
Gold Metal London Big Ben Bottle Opener MagnetA gold metal bottle opener featuring an intricate Big Ben design and red white and blue enamelled lettering which spells ...
Rubber London Magnet With Big Ben
Rubber London Magnet With Big BenBright and colourful PVC magnet of a comical looking Big Ben set on a Union Jack background If you love the capital or ...
Large Big Ben Money Box
Large Big Ben Money BoxLarge die cast metal Big Ben money box with plastic parts A superb idea for a little something from England
Large Boxed Souvenir Big Ben Clock
Large Boxed Souvenir Big Ben ClockA 21cm tall England Big Ben model with a real working clock One of the most popular ideas for Big Ben souvenirs from the ...
Large Antique Silver Big Ben Money Box
Large Antique Silver Big Ben Money BoxLarge Antique Silver Big Ben money box with plastic parts A superb idea for a little something from England Size 21 x 6 cm
Large Marble London Big Ben Clock
Large Marble London Big Ben ClockThese exquisitely crafted marble Big Ben memento clocks make superb ideas for souvenirs from the capital
Large Metal Big Ben Clock 30cm
Large Metal Big Ben Clock 30cmLarge Metal Big Ben Clock Packed in a presentation box making these ideal British heritage presents that everyone will love
Big Ben PVC Magnetic Bottle Opener
Big Ben PVC Magnetic Bottle OpenerKeep this bottle opener handy by sticking it to the fridge This souvenir is a great conversation starter when you open a ...
Big Ben Souvenir Zinc Alloy Metal Keyring
Big Ben Souvenir Zinc Alloy Metal KeyringThese metal Big Ben keyring with red blue and white lettering An ideal gift from a trip to London
Souvenir Big Ben Stone Model
Souvenir Big Ben Stone ModelAdd the magnificence of the city of London to your own mantelpiece or model collection with this classic miniature Big ...
Big Ben Union Jack Brass Tab Keyring
Big Ben Union Jack Brass Tab KeyringA brass metal tab keyring featuring Big Ben the Union Jack A superb addition to any key chain collection
Acrylic Keyring with Big Ben by the Thames
Acrylic Keyring with Big Ben by the ThamesAn acrylic keyring featuring an attractive night view of Big Ben by the River Thames Great for keeping your keys together ...
Metal Spinner Keyring with Big Ben
Metal Spinner Keyring with Big BenA heavy silver and gold metal spinner souvenir keyring with an embossed image of Big Ben in London
Gift Set of 3 Metal Big Ben Keyrings
Gift Set of 3 Metal Big Ben KeyringsSet of three Metal Big Ben Keyrings Colours include silver gold and pink A wonderful addition to your key ring collection
Metal Lapel Pin Badge with Big Ben
Metal Lapel Pin Badge with Big BenMetal lapel pin badges featuring famous London landmarks make popular souvenir ideas and this Big Ben Badge is no exception
Metal London Big Ben Clock Souvenir
Metal London Big Ben Clock SouvenirA stunning metal Big Ben Clock Packed in a presentation box making these ideal home accessories
Miniature Big Ben Model Souvenir
Miniature Big Ben Model SouvenirThis gilt miniature gold diecast metal Big Ben model is and ideal size for taking home as London souvenirs for family and ...
Painted Big Ben Model
Painted Big Ben ModelThis beautifully painted replica of Big Ben will add the grandeur of the city of London to any home
Pink Metal Big Ben Charm
Pink Metal Big Ben CharmPersonalise your bag mobile phone or clothing with this cool pink metallic Big Ben charm Great to keep as a reminder of a ...
Pewter Big Ben Bottle Opener Magnet
Pewter Big Ben Bottle Opener MagnetPewter metal Big Ben Bottle Opener with magnet Ideal souvenirs from London for opening bottles at British themed parties ...
Painted Big Ben Model With Real Clock
Painted Big Ben Model With Real ClockA beautifully painted Big Ben replica with a real clock Packed in a souveniration box making these an ideal ornament for ...
Silver Big Ben Keyring
Silver Big Ben KeyringThis weighty silver metal Big Ben keyring is most definitely a substantial souvenir of one of Londons most famous monuments
Pink Metal London Big Ben Keyring
Pink Metal London Big Ben KeyringThese cool pink metal Big Ben keyrings are a fantastic gift idea for girls and a great souvenir from the city
Silver  Big Ben Magnetic Bottle Opener
Silver Big Ben Magnetic Bottle OpenerA silver metallic bottle opener featuring a noble Big Ben design and red white and blue enamelled lettering for the name ...
Marble Big Ben Clock
Marble Big Ben ClockStunning marble model of Big Ben with real clock Packed in a presentation box making this an ideal item to take home from ...
Silver Metal Big Ben Keyring
Silver Metal Big Ben KeyringTake your memories of the British capital wherever you go with this silver metal Big Ben keyring a classic souvenir from ...
Silver Plated Big Ben Charm
Silver Plated Big Ben CharmAny girl about town will consider this fun funky silver plated charm featuring Londons iconic Big Ben as the perfect ...
Tin Big Ben Money Box Tea Caddy with 20 Teabags
Tin Big Ben Money Box Tea Caddy with 20 TeabagsAn embossed Tin Big Ben money box tea caddy with 20 tagged English Breakfast teabags A coin slot in the lid makes the tin ...
Big Ben Crystal & Colour Changing Light Stand
Big Ben Crystal & Colour Changing Light StandAttractive and modern engraved glass paperweight laser cut with intricate Big Ben design Packed in a presentation box ...

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