If you are unfortunate enough to have not been born in the green and pleasant land that is known to all as England, then your first thoughts of Her Royal Highnesses' kingdom is likely to be the City of London. More specifically, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral, and Big Ben!
Why is the Big Ben called Big Ben?
So, just how big is Big Ben?
The clock tower holds the record for being the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is also the worlds third-tallest free-standing clock tower.
The Great bell is 2.2 metres in height and 2.7 metres in diameter, so it's no surprise that it weighs a fantastic 13.7 tonnes! Just the hammer weighs 200kg and when it strikes it resonates the musical note of Eeeeeeeee.
The tower itself was built containing 11 floors and is over 96 metres high and 12 metres square.Furthermore, if you have the energy you can climb the 334 steps to belfry.
The Palace of Westminster dates from the medieval period when it was a royal residence. In fact, it still home to a royal medieval throne which is situated in the Lords Chamber which is known as St Edward’s Chair, or more popularly as the Coronation Chair. Why is this important? Because each year the Royal Head of State travels in spendid procession to the Palace of Westminster for the annual State Opening of Parliament. This colourful pomp and ceremony of Parliament is one of Britain's most famous traditions.
Be aware that the Palace of Westminster is still called the Palace of Westminster and only houses the Houses of Parliament!
Big Ben Facts
1. The Great Westminster Clock became fully operational in 1859.
2. The Big Ben Bell weighs 13.7 tonnes.
3. Pre-Decimal pennies used to adjust the clocks timings. One penny will add around two-fifths of a second in 24 hours.
4. The Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airey and Edmund Denison QC MP designed the Great Clock and recommended clockmaker Edward Dent to build it.
6. The pendulum is 3.9 metres long and beats every two seconds.
7. The clock mechanism weighs around 5 tonnes.
8. What runs the great clock now composes of contemporary metal work. However, the original parts from the clock mechanism on display about a third of the way up the Clock Tower.
9. The original clapper cast in 1858 but was never used.
10. The original the original hammer used to strike Big Ben in 1859 was found to be too heavy at 6 1/2 cwts. This was replaced in 1862 by the present hammer of 4 cwts.
11. The first Big Ben bell was caste and brought down from Stockton On Tees to London. It weighed 16 tons and was mounted on a trolley pulled by 16 horses. Sadly this original bell cracked during testing and was replaced by another weighing 13 tons cast in Whitechapel, London.
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Images care of http://www.ullapix.com/places%20and%20things/pages/Big%20Ben%20Clocktower.html and http://www.see-theworld.org/2012/02/big-ben-united-kingdom-london.html and http://ampthillimages.com/Media/WobFrom1948-Gall/pages/1948%20Big%20Ben%20Bell%2002.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/image_galleries/bigben_clock_gallery.shtml? and http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/bigben/7513.shtml?page=4