Big Ben


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The name Big Ben is actually the name of the bell at the top of the tower, although its original name is the Great Bell.

The tower measures 96 meters (equivalent of 11 floors) and it has 334 steps.    In the tower, a room below the clock is known as the “prison room”, where the parliament would put the members that misbehave. In 1880 the MP Charles Bradlaugh spent a couple of nights there, after refusing to swear his loyalty to the Queen on a bible, as he was atheist.

The hands of the clock measure up to 4.2 meters, and weight 300 kg.  If you put attention to the Roman numbers, 4 o’clock is show with the numeral IV.  Other clocks use IIII, which was the original way of writing 4 in Ancient Rome.

The clock is fairly accurate, but sometimes goes faster or slower.  This is why on top of the pendulum, the clock keeper adds or removes a few pennies to make the clock be faster or slower depending on the need.

The Big Ben, the bell of the clock, weights 13.5 tons –the size of an elephant!-. The chimes of this bell is based on Great St. Mary’s chimes in Cambridge!