Screenshot 20210824 151839 Instagram
A tower with an identity crisis

For hundreds of years the tower we call Big Ben was known only as the Clock Tower or St. Stephen’s Tower. In 2012 the tower was officially renamed to Elizabeth Tower for the Queens jubilee. The tower has never been officially named Big Ben. So where does the popular name Big Ben come from refers? Big Ben actually refers to the largest bell in the tower which was casted in 1858 and Sir Benjamin Halls name was inscribed on the bell. He was Londons first commissioner of public works and was in charge of building the Houses of Parliament which Big Ben towers over. Big Ben (the bell) is more than 7 feet tall, measures 9 feet in diameter, and weighs nearly 14 tons. There is a clock on each side of the tower and each one is 23 feet in diameter. The hour hands are 9.2 feet long and minute hands are 14 feet long.

Want to visit the inside of the tower? Unless you’re a UK resident you cannot tour it. As of 2010 only residents can tour the tower and then you must be sponsored by a Member of Parliament of the House of Lords. People who do get to tour it have to climb 334 steps up a spiral staircase to reach the belfry.

The tower is over 160 years old and after that much wear and tear it isn’t exactly perfect. The tower has settled a bit and actually leans about a foot and a half northwestern. On New Years Eve in 1962 the tower actually chimed late due to all the snow and ice on the that weighed down the hands. Better to chime a bit late than never. The bells have not chimed since 2017 due to a complete renovation of the tower and to protect those construction workers ears. The work was supposed to be completed by now but the chimes won’t start again until early 2022 as construction was delayed due to the pandemic.




Leave a Reply