Often times I’ve seen people name their alarm clocks Big Ben, especially in the movies. I didn’t know what that meant so I got curious. Why would most teens name their bedside clock Big Ben. One day I searched ‘Big Ben’ on Google and it gave me the result. It was an ‘aha!’ moment for me cos I’ve been seeing that tower in the movies but didn’t know what it was, well now u do and I want to talk about it.
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. It was completed in 1859 and was designed by Augustus Pugin. It has 11 floors and totals a height of 96m (315ft)
Big Ben, was raised as a part of Charles Barry’s design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was largely destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October 1834. Although Barry was the chief architect of the palace, he turned to Augustus Pugin for the design of the clock tower.
The design for the tower was Pugin’s last design before his final descent into madness and death, and Pugin himself wrote, at the time of Barry’s last visit to him to collect the drawings: “I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower & it is beautiful.”
The clock tower has been part of a Grade I listed building since 1970 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The tower is founded on a 50 feet (15.2 m) square raft, made of 10 feet (3.0 m) thick concrete, at a depth of 13 feet (4.0 m) below ground level. The four clock dials are 180 feet (54.9 m) above ground. The interior volume of the tower is 164,200 cubic feet (4,650 cubic metres).
At the base of each clock dial in gilt letters is the Latin inscription:
DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM
Which means O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.
On 21 August 2017, a four-year schedule of renovation works began on the tower. It is expected to be completed by 2020 and during this period of time, the clock will not chime except on new year’s eve and Remembrance day.
Despite being one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, the interior of the tower is not open to overseas visitors, though United Kingdom residents were able to arrange tours through their Member of Parliament before the current repair works.
Originally, the renovation was estimated to cost between £29 million and £45 million; however, in September 2017, the figure increased to £61 million.