“Big Ben” is one of London’s famous and famous symbols worldwide. Are you surprised? The subject of the article was˟ the clock tower of London, but now it is about Big Ben! Big Ben is another name for the London Clock Tower. This tower has received many names during its many years of life. Since 2012, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, the ‘s namebuilding has been changed to Elizabeth Tower, but for tourists, it is still the Clock Tower of London, and for locals, it is Big Ben.
The London Clock Tower was built on the burnt remains of the Palace of Westminster and became one of the tourist attractions of London. The London Clock Tower also has a story that is worth knowing.
Birth of the London Clock Tower
The Palace of Westminster burned down on October 16, 1834. Only parts of it survived the fire. A competition was held to design the new parliament building, and the famous architect Charles Barry won the match. Charles Berry’s original plans did not include a clock until Parliament requested that a watch be added to the complex’s tower. Charles Berry added the London Clock Tower to his design with the help of his assistant Augustus Welby Poyn.
The London Clock Tower was added to Parman’s building complex in 1856, with a length of 96 meters and 11 floors. Eight hundred fifty cubic meters of stone and 2,600 cubic meters of bricks were needed for its construction, brought to London from Anston in Yorkshire and Caen in France. Its foundations are placed at a depth of three meters. But with the passing of these years, this tower is bent towards the northwest with an angle of 0.04 degrees.
The clock tower of London has seen the reign of 6 kings of England. On May 10, 1941, a German plane dropped a bomb on the London Clock Tower, which only damaged parts of the tower, and luckily the building remained intact.
This tower is so famous that it has become one of the movie stars in English movies and has had a strong presence in favorite movies like Lost, Doctor Who, Mary Poppins, etc.
Who was the designer of the London Clock Tower?
Charles Barry (designer of the London Clock Tower) asked the Queen’s clockmaker, Benjamin Los Vollemy, to design a clock for the tower. But with the publication of this news, a competitor was found for him. Another clockmaker, Edward Dent, asked Sir George Eyrie to introduce him to Charles Berry instead of Wallymey to make clocks. George Airy introduced him as Dent requested, and Dent was appointed to design the tower clock, according to the tower’s construction committee.
One of the requirements for making the clock was that it should not fall behind by even a second and must have four faces to be seen from any point. Despite these requirements, the construction of the clock tower seemed almost impossible.
Edmond Beckett Denison was a lawyer for whom clock-making was a hobby. He thought he might be able to design this watch. For this reason, Denison and Dent started to make this watch together. They worked two days and nights to build a clock that was impossible to build in the eyes of others, but they succeeded, and the London Clock Tower clock was built.
The clock designed and then built by them has plates with a diameter of 7 meters, which gave a small hand with a length of 2.8 meters and a large needle with a height of 3.4 meters. About 312 agate glasses are used to design the numbers of each clock face, which is lit by 28 lamps.
When the London Clock Tower was built in 1854, it was the giant clock in the world and is still one of the big mechanical clocks in the world. Its gears and hands are also massive. A watch of this size had to be designed to work accurately despite its heavy weight and, located 97 meters above the London Clock Tower, work despite powerful winds.
It was even possible for it to be covered with snow and ice or for birds to get stuck in its hands. (In 1962, heavy snowfall and freezing caused the hands of the clock to become rich, and the London Clock Tower clock in Crims was ten minutes late). Therefore, it had to be designed not to lose time accuracy, and Dennison’s genius solved this problem.
Three separate movement parts were used in the design of this watch. The part that drives the main engine of the hands. An amount to move the bells that ring every 15 minutes, and the most crucial part is the motor that makes the main bell ring. This carefully designed watch is still working today.
The most significant change to the London Clock Tower clock over the years was its color change. The clock and the details of the clock were designed in blue, but the smoke and pollution of the London air gradually turned˟ black. For this reason, in 1980, it was decided to change the watch’s components to black.
How was Big Ben added to the clock tower?
The bells of the clock tower were brought to London during its construction. These bells were so big they had to use a ship to get them. At first, this bell was called Victoria, but later Londoners named it Big Ben. Big Ben is believed to be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, whose name is inscribed on the bell. But on the other hand, some believe that the reason for calling Big Ben is Ben Kant, the heavyweight boxer champion.
The 13-ton bell of the London Clock Tower, Big Ben, was first brought to London in 1856. This bell was transferred to the tower during a special ceremony. First, it arrived in London by ship, then it was brought to the tower area in a carriage pulled by 16 white horses. When he arrived at the tower, the construction of the London Clock Tower had not yet been completed, which is why Big Ben was hung in the area of the building, and unfortunately, the bell broke before it was installed. The second bell, which was slightly lighter, was brought to London in October 1858 and installed.
The tower clock started working on May 31, 1859. Two months after the start of the clock, the bell broke, and Big Ben fell silent for four years. Due to the bell’s size, it was impossible to separate it from the watch, but Sargeraj Iri solved this problem. Instead of changing the bell, they replaced the pandan. The London clock tower bell was struck from the outside and cracked in the part where it hit the bell. They put a lighter pardon in another part of the bell and solved that problem. So this alarm has worked without any issues until today.
In addition to Big Ben, four other bells in the London Clock Tower ring every quarter of an hour.
On Christmas 1923, the BBC broadcast the sound of the London Clock Tower to the whole of England for the first time. Also, in 1932, the sound of the bell of the London Clock Tower was broadcast live on world services.
One of the exciting points of the London Clock Tower bell is that you can easily understand the difference between the speed of light and sound in this tower. If you stand at the base of the London Clock Tower and look at the bell, you will hear the chime about one-sixth of a second later than the bell’s pendulum. And if someone listens to the bell live on the radio simultaneously, they will hear it before you.
Why is Big Ben silent these days?
Since 2017, the Clock Tower of London has been temporarily shut down for repairs and renovations and only chimes for Christmas and Memorial Day. This blackout will continue until 2021 due to the safety of workers working on restoring the London Clock Tower. The sound of Big Ben at close range can cause severe hearing damage.
Why is the London Clock Tower being renovated?
London’s Clock Tower is undergoing renovation as it has been more than 30 years since the last extensive maintenance was carried out on the tower. Problems such as small cracks, erosion, and rusting of metals should be fixed as soon as possible so that more significant problems do not arise.
Despite the renovation, the Clock Tower of London still has many visitors. The view of the tower and its clock is hidden under the scaffolding, but next to the London Clock Tower, there are other attractions, such as Parliament Square and the Palace of Westminster, which are free to enter.
London Clock Tower or Big Ben?
Big Ben is the name of the big bell of the London Clock Tower, located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. This tower is officially known as the Elizabeth Tower and is the third standing clock tower in the world and has the giant four-faced clock in the world. This building has become one of the most prominent symbols of London and England.
Although the London Clock Tower is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, The interior of the tower has never been open to foreign tourists; only the British can see it with the coordination of their local parliaments and with special tours of the interior.