A visiting card of London, and, perhaps, the whole of Great Britain. The famous clock tower on the banks of the Thames. She is depicted on almost all souvenir postcards in England, mugs, magnets, calendars, even on clothes, shoes and jewelry, and most news programs in this country display a screensaver with the famous clock on the screens before the release. The attraction that everyone has heard of is Big Ben. But few people know that this is not its real name. Like any other tourist attraction, it keeps many secrets and mysteries.
1. Real name
The official name of the tower is Big Bell, in British it is Great Bell. There are two versions about the current name, who and why began to call it that. The first is connected with the head of the bell casting, Benjamin Hall, he had a very large physique and bore the nickname Big Ben. And according to the second version, he was named after the famous boxer Benjamin Count.
2. It does not belong to the Palace of Westminster
From the outside it seems that it is part of the palace, however, it is not. Nor is it a separate clock tower. In fact, Big Ben is a bell that is carefully hidden from the eyes of a tourist behind a huge clock. Every year at midnight on December 31, they strike 12 times as a reminder that the New Year has arrived. And in 2012, the clock with its ringing opened the Olympic Games in Great Britain, because it can be heard farther than 8 kilometers. The tower itself bears the name – Elizabeth Tower.
3. The history of the bell
In fact, it was cast twice, the first time in 1856, after which it was delivered to the tower within 35 hours, but burst during testing. The second bell was cast two years later, in 1858, but a year passed and a crack appeared at the base of this bell, which was later removed, and the old hammer was replaced with a less heavy one.
The height of the tower itself reaches 96 meters, the bell is 2.29 meters high, and 2.74 meters in diameter, it weighs almost 14 tons. The diameter of the dial is 7 meters, with the minute hand at 4.2 meters and the hour hand at 2.7 meters.
5. What’s inside
The Elizabeth Tower has 11 floors, with 334 steps, about halfway there is a chamber where violators of the rules of the internal order of parliament were placed. Not everyone can see this. Foreigners are strictly prohibited from entering here, but not all Englishmen can get inside. To visit Big Ben, they need to go through a series of procedures in parliament, and then wait for their turn, which may come up in months or even years.
6. Precision is the courtesy of kings
Big Ben’s clock is the most accurate in the world, regulated by one or more coins, which must be placed on the pendulum to slow it down.
Now the tower is illuminated by numerous electric lamps, but at the beginning of the 20th century, this function was performed by gas burners.
8. Big Ben on the Internet
The world famous watches have their own page on the social network, where every hour a new entry appears, with the words “bam”, “bam”, and nothing but, with all this, the page has 500 thousand subscribers.