Big Ben is the chiming clock of the Palace of Westminster or the Houses of Parliament in London. The amazing looking Victorian Gothic style clock tower is the most famous landmark of London. Rather, one can say it represents the city of London. The clock tower of the Palace of Westminster took 13 years to build, and was completed in 1856. The tower is 316 feet high. The spire that rises above the belfry is built with an iron frame, and it is this frame which supports the weight of the bells. A staircase rises up inside the tower, and a climb is rewarded by excellent views from the belfry level.
Many people think that Big Ben refers either to the tower or the clocks. But actually, Big Ben is the name of main bell of the five bells that are there inside the tower. The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. The bell is better known by the nickname Big Ben. The original bell, cast in 1856 and weighing some 15 tons, was being tested when it developed serious cracks and had to be scrapped. The new bell, weighing 13 tons, was installed in 1858.
The sound of Big Ben striking the hour was first heard in July 1859. There are also four Quarter bells in the clock tower weighing between 4 tons and 1 ton. The clock tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. Each of the four clock faces has a diameter of over 7 meters. They are cleaned once every 5 years by abseiling cleaners. The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. Unfortunately the clock tower is not publicly accessible, but if youre looking for views over London the London Eye is currently the best option.