Big Ben, a Little Bit of Its History

London’s distinctive symbol, Big Ben does in 2012, 152 years. The tower was inaugurated on May 31, 1859, next to the Palace of Westminster, on the banks of the River Thames. However, the first time the bell actually sounded was shortly after, on July 11 of the same year.
Contrary to what might be imagined, this is not the name of the London Parliament building, nor of its characteristic tower, but of the bell of more than 13 tons that is in it. The nickname is linked to Sir Benjamin Hall, England’s public works minister in the period, but there is another version that says it is due to heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt.

The clock’s history is marked by controversy. A few weeks after the inauguration, the bell stopped and the architect Charles Barry and the watchmaker Edmund Becket Denison, their executors, went out to blame each other. The same thing happened when there was a crack in the great bell, due to the fact that the clash that beat the hours was too big. For a decade the English newspaper  The Times  reproduced snippets of letters in which readers thought about Big Ben: if some protested against the noise, others complained that the sound of the bells was not imperial enough.

Big Ben, a Little Bit of Its History 1

Big Ben, a Little Bit of Its History 2

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The fact is that, among controversies, the Big Ben tower became a British symbol. The Clock Tower has a height of 96 meters and each of the four watch beads, composed of 312 individual pieces of crystal, has a diameter of 7 meters. The hands that mark the minutes in each of the spheres were originally iron, but because they were too heavy, they were replaced by copper.

The visits to the top of the tower are closed to foreigners, but it is possible to visit Parliament halls-the visit goes for 12 pounds. Or, for £ 15, admire a beautiful panorama of the city, with a privileged view of the Big Ben tower from the London Eye, the Millennium Wheel which opened in 1999 to commemorate the turn of the millennium.

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