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Big Ben


Big Ben is the world’s most famous clock. With four faces and a tall spire, the imposing neo-Gothic tower is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. It is part of Westminster Palace, popularly known as the Houses of Parliament.

For over a century and a half, Big Ben has chimed every hour, keeping Londoners on time. The name actually refers to the thirteen-ton bell inside. The tower itself was called St. Stephen’s Tower, until it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

Big Ben was built after the Great Fire of 1834, which destroyed the original Palace of Westminster. The great bell first rang out on 11 July 1859. It was soon nicknamed Big Ben. The origins of the nickname are unclear. It might relate to English boxing champion Ben Caunt. It is more likely named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a minister who supervised the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament.

The bells were silenced in 2017, when the tower closed for repairs. The familiar, majestic chimes should be heard again some time during 2021.