Big Ben and Greenwich

Topics: Greenwich, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, National Maritime Museum Pages: 22 (7805 words) Published: October 4, 2012
“Big Ben. Greenwich”
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Big Ben

Famous around the world for keeping impeccable time, the Big Ben Clock Tower was fully operational on September 7, 1859. The Big Ben Clock is used to ring in the London New Year and is a rallying point for the New Year"s celebration of the entire country of England. The BBC also broadcasts the chiming of the bells on Remembrance Day to mark the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—the end of World War I. A famous symbol of Parliament and all things English throughout the world, the Big Ben Clock is visible from many locations in London and is well worth visiting. Although most people refer to the entire tower as the Big Ben Clock Tower, the name Big Ben actually refers to the bell housed within the tower. The bell itself weighs almost 14 tons, and takes its name from the man who first ordered the bell, Sir Benjamin Hall. The four clock faces of the Big Ben in London are each 23 feet in diameter; the biggest of its kind when it was constructed. Certain pieces of the clock face of the Big Ben in London have been designed for easy removal, to allow for cleaning and maintenance of the clock hands. The base of each of the clock face`s of the Big Ben in London bears a Latin inscription meaning, "Lord save our Queen Victoria I," as the Big Ben Clock Tower and the adjoining Westminster Palace were constructed during the Victorian age. Today, the Palace of Westminster houses British Parliament sessions, and tourists can even view a session of parliament for free. Over the years, Big Ben history has also come to include the changing of the tower itself. Due to ground conditions, the Big Ben Clock Tower now leans slightly to the Northwest, and also moves back and forth by a few millimeters each year. Big Ben history has long recorded the clock"s remarkable reliability. The engineering of the clock is such that the actual mechanisms of the clock itself are well protected from climate changes and harsh weather. Though the clock has experienced slowing at various times through its history, the clock continued to run accurately during The Blitz of World War II. Tourists planning to visit Big Ben National Park will enjoy visiting this visual symbol of the United Kingdom. Recent photos of the Big Ben Clock Tower often show the London Eye Millennium Wheel in the background; a nearby attraction that is also worth visiting. Big Ben has and continues to stand tall as a powerful British icon and place for celebration. The Big Ben Clock Tower was constructed in 1858, soon after the old Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire. The clock tower consists of load-bearing brickwork with stone cladding rising to a height of 61m; this supports a cast-iron framed spire, giving a total height of 92m. The tower is supported on a mass concrete raft 15m square and 3m thick which is founded within the Terrace Gravels of the River Thames, at a depth of about 7m below ground level. The tower is estimated to have a weight of 85MN, giving an average bearing pressure of about 400kPa. The clock face is 55m above ground level and is out of plumb towards the northwest by 220mm. Thus the inclination is about 1/250 – an amount which is often quoted as being just discernable to the casual onlooker. This explains why tourists are often seen debating the verticality of the clock-tower! The Great Bell - Big Ben

Officially, the Clock Tower's bell is called the Great Bell though it is better known by the name 'Big Ben'. There are two theories for this name's origin. These are that the Great Bell was: •named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works 1855-1858 •named after Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight boxer of the 1850s The first theory is thought to be the most likely.

The name 'Big Ben' is often associated with the Clock Tower and the Great Clock as well as the Great Bell. It was to the Great Bell that the name originally was given.

Making the Great Bell...
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