The name of this magnificent chiming clock in London was “clock tower” until 2021 when it was renamed Elizabeth Tower.
This tower was the design of Augustus Pugin. This was the last design Pugin created before he died.
The tower stands 315 feet tall or 96.0 m. There are 334 steps leading to the top of the building.
One of the most impressive aspects of this clock is its reliability. It is always within one second of the actual time; you can set your watch by it.
How Much Does Big Ben Weigh?
When people talk about Big Ben, they do not realize that Big Ben refers to just the bell inside the tower and not the entire building or clock.
How Much Does The Excellent Hour Bell Of The Clock Weigh?
The bell that is currently in Big Ben weighs 13 and one-half tons. The first bell commissioned for the clock weighed 16 tons and was made of pure bronze, but when the clock was tested, the first bell cracked, and a replacement was ordered immediately. The new bell was made of a combination of bronze, copper, and tin.
The portion of the tower where the bell had to be placed is 200 feet or 61.0 m above the ground. It took 18 hours and the hard work of several men to hoist the bell this high and get it into position.
The bell is 9.51 feet or 2.9 m tall and about 8.98 feet or 2.74 m in diameter.
The pendulum of this superb timepiece is held in an enclosed box beneath the clock room. The pendulum measures 13.1234 or 4 m in length.
The pendulum alone weighs about 600 pounds or 300 kg. It is set to beat every two seconds.
On top of the pendulum is a stack of pennies. The pennies are used to make time adjustments to the clock. Adding or taking away a penny changes the clock’s speed by an average of 0.04 seconds in 24 hours.
The Clock Pieces
The faces of the clock are positioned 180.44 feet or 55 m above the ground. Each face is 23 feet or 7 m in diameter. The faces are made of glass. The faces are created out of 312 pieces of glass, each.
The hour hand measures 9 feet or 2.7 m. The minute hand measures 14 feet or 4.3 m in length.
The green lantern at the top of the clock is called Ayrton Light. The light in the tower is an indication of when the House of Commons is in session.
During World War II the lights on the clock were dimmed to be in compliance with the blackout rules in existence in 1939.
There are several requirements you must meet if you plan to visit this clock.
- You must be over the age of eleven years
- You must be physically able to climb the 334 stairs without needing help
- People who are in their third trimester are not recommended for the strenuous climb
- You need to be a UK resident to visit
Did You know?
- This is the largest chiming clock with four faces in the world?
- In 1944 a flock of birds rested on the minute hand of the clock. There were so many birds in the flock that they caused the time to run slow.
- The clock tower is not perfectly erect. It leans just a smidge.
- In 1962 there was so much snow and ice on the hands of the clock that Big Ben chimed late. The ringing for 1963 did not happen until ten minutes after midnight.
- Big Ben has been seen in a lot of movies and television shows. In Disney’s Peter Pan the Darling children land on the minute hand of the clock while they are flying to Neverland with Peter.
- You can hear the chimes of this clock for up to nine miles
- On BBC before the news and some other programs you hear the chimes of this infamous clock. This was first done in 1923.
- The beautiful clock was stopped in 2017 so renovations could be made. The renovations were supposed to be completed by 2022 but with the Covid epidemic, the completion time may have to be stretched out a little longer.
- There are actually 399 steps in the tower. There are 334 steps to the belfry and then there are an additional 65 steps leading to the lantern.
- Big Ben has a caretaker who also is responsible for winding the clock and taking care of maintenance issues.
Are The Gold Decorations On Big Ben Made Of Real Gold?
The gold decorations at this clock’s top are 23-carat gold.
When Was Big Ben Completed?
It was completed in 1859.
How Many Clock Faces Does Big Ben Have?
There are four clock faces so that a clock face is visible from all four directions.