Big Ben

Big Ben is one of the most recognizable landmarks in London.  To be more accurate, Big Ben is not the name of the four-faced clock in the 320 foot tower that rises above the Houses of Parliament, but of the bell on which the hours are struck.  It was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, Chief Commissioner of Works when the bell was hung in 1858.  The giant bell is actually the second one; the first cracked during testing. The current bell also has a slight crack.  The clock is the largest in Britain.  Its four dials measure 24 feet in diameter, and the minute hand is 14 feet in length.  The dials are made of hollow copper which makes them lighter.  The clock has kept time for the nation continuously since it was first set in motion in May 1859.  The chimes are broadcast daily on BBC radio.


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