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Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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The History of the Big Ben

Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student.

It’s the finest icon of London and one of the most famous clocks in the world. The Big Ben, officially known as Great Bell, is…


Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student.

It’s the finest icon of London and one of the most famous clocks in the world. The Big Ben, officially known as Great Bell, is a  true symbol of London and one of its major tourist attractions.

Situated at the northern end of the Palace of Westminster, which was the British royal residence until 1512 AD and became the house of Parliament, the building was initially known as Clock tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth tower in 2012 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne.

The foundation stone of the tower was laid on 28 September 1843 and the bell chimed for the first time in July 1859.

Why was the clock built?

In 1834, a large fire broke out in the Palace of Westminster. When the destroyed Palace was to be rebuilt, the Parliament felt the need for an impressive clock tower and passed a bill in a few years for the same. The tower is considered a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. While the Big Ben is the largest and accurate four-faced clock in the world.

It’s not clear why the Great Bell was nicknamed Big Ben. Some believe that it was named after the First Commissioner for Works, Sir Benjamin Hall whose name is inscribed on the Bell. Some others say that it was named after the champion heavyweight boxer, Ben Caunt.

While the clock chimes every day, there have been some historic events, like World War I and II, when the Big Ben was temporarily silenced and dimmed. This was done to protect the Palace of Westminster.

The Big Ben is has been undergoing a renovation since 2017, and is scheduled to reopen after 4 years. It is said that this renovation requires 29 million pounds (GBP). The Big Ben is only chiming for important events such as New Years and Remembrance Day.

The Elizabeth tower is of great architectural and historical significance to England. It has been the backdrop to the most expensive James Bond movie- Spectre, where two helicopters are seen hovering dangerously close to the Big Ben in a captivating scene. A trip to London, without visiting it, is incomplete.

Written By

Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student.

Want to write for I Kid You Not? We publish children’s writing.
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