What Does “Big Ben” Really Refer to?

The nickname Big Ben refers to the large bell inside the clock at Elizabeth Tower, a British landmark built in 1859 that is located at the Palace of Westminster in London. The clock and sometimes the tower itself are also commonly called Big Ben, which is technically incorrect. Big Ben is a 13-ton (13,760 kg) bell that strikes every hour. The tower has been referred to as the Clock Tower until 2012, when it was changed to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne.

More about Big Ben:

  • Big Ben cracked in 1859, after its first two months of striking, and wasn‘t functional again until 1863, when it was repositioned so the bell‘s hammer wouldn‘t hit the crack. As of 2013, the crack still remained.
  • When the Palace of Westminster was bombed in 1941 during World War II, the Clock Tower remained intact, and Big Ben continued to strike every hour.
  • Big Ben’s strike is estimated to be able to be heard from 9 miles (14.48 km) away.
More Info: parliament.uk

Discussion Comments


Cracked! Remind anyone of another famous cracked bell? That would be the USA's Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

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