At the North-West end of the Palace of Westminster, it stands the Clock Tower. Even though this tower and its clock are known as the Big Ben, this is actually the nickname given to the great bell of the clock. There are two theories on why Ben was chosen as the name for the biggest bell. One says that it is in honor to Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the installation of the Great Bell, and the other states it’s named Ben after boxer Benjamin Caunt.
The Big Ben is a symbolic structure of London that attracts millions of tourists every year. This four-faced chiming clock delights everybody with its accurate design and its impressive height. Moreover, it is a focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, as well as on Remembrance Day when the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and the start of two minutes' silence.
The clock (wrongly called Big Ben) start working on the 31st of May of 1859. At the base of each one of the clocks faces there is a Latin inscription stating “DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM”, which means “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”.
The clock earns its reputation mainly due to its reliability. Pre-decimal pennies are used to regulate the clock mechanism. Adding one penny causes the clock to gain two-fifths of a second in 24 hours.
The image of the “Big Ben” is normally used when trying to illustrate Britain. No doubts, both the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben, are a must when visiting London.
We recommend you to check our tourist Big Ben economic guided tours.
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