Big Ben Facts

Big Ben Facts
Big Ben is a bell located in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster in London, England. Big Ben is the nickname of the Great Bell, cast in 1858 to replace the first bell cast in 1856 (which cracked during testing). Big Ben also cracked, but was repaired and is still in use today. Big Ben is located in the Palace of Westminster's north end, in Elizabeth Tower (renamed to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Big Ben was cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London, and weighs about as much as a small elephant. Big Ben was cast from copper and tin, as well as pieces of the original Big Ben that cracked in 1857 and had to be replaced.
Interesting Big Ben Facts:
Big Ben is really only the bell, although many people refer to the clock, the tower, and the bell as Big Ben.
Big Ben's birthday is April 10th, 1858. Big Ben first chimed on July 11th, 1859.
After Big Ben was cast he had to cool for two weeks.
Big Ben was carried to Westminster on a horse-drawn carriage, with crowds cheering on the new bell's arrival.
Two months after Big Ben chimed for the first time a crack developed. For four years it was out of commission. In 1863 Big Ben was turned and a smaller hammer was used. The crack that put Big Ben out of service for four years is still there.
Big Ben makes noise when a hammer hits him. The bell does not move - it is hung from the belfry. The hammer weighs approximately 450 pounds.
Big Ben is 7 feet and 6 inches tall, and 9 feet wide.
Big Ben weighs approximately 13 tons.
The first chime of Big Ben signals the hour on the dot. The clock is so accurate that a person can set their watch to it.
In 1916 Big Ben was silenced and kept unlit for two years every night. World War I had begun and this effort helped to prevent making the tower a target for the Germans.
The first time that Big Ben was heard over BBC Radio in the United Kingdom was New Year's Eve, 1923.
From 1939 to 1945 the clock dials were not lit up. This was done as a preventative measure to help protect it from attack during World War II.
Big Ben can be heard from as far away as nine miles. It is estimated that before London was built up Big Ben could be heard further than nine miles.
In 1976 the chiming mechanism broke after 100 years of operation. In 1977 it was reactivated.
In 2012 Big Ben was chimed 30 times in honor of the start of the London Olympic Games.
In 2013 Big Ben and the other bells of Elizabeth Tower were silenced out of respect for Margaret Thatcher's funeral. She was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
Until 1881 Big Ben was the British Isle's largest bell. Great Paul was cast that year and now hangs in St. Paul's Cathedral.

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