When they visit London, England, Big Ben is one of the tourist destinations that are often visited by tourists. The clock tower is an iconic landmark that frequently appears on lists of must-see London tourist destinations.
Besides being a favorite place for tourists to take pictures, did you know that the four o’clock side in the land of Queen Elizabeth has a number of interesting facts, you know. Starting from the most accurate clock to the largest clock in the world.
Here are seven interesting facts about Big Ben that we have summarized as reported by Big 7 Travel.
1. Big Ben Is The Name Of The Bell
So far, we certainly know that Big Ben is one of the most popular clock towers in England. However, behind it all the names Big Ben refer to the bells in the tower, not the name of the tower or the clock which is useful as a timepiece.
Big Ben is actually the name of the largest of the five chimes in this clock. Big Ben’s bell, which has another name Great Bell, is more than two meters high with a diameter of more than 2.5 meters and weighs nearly 14 tons.
Even so, in fact Big Ben is widely known as the name of the tower, even by Londoners themselves.
Reported by Visit London, Big Ben was completed in 1856 after 13 years of construction. Thus, Big Ben is 161 years old.
2. Only British Passport Holders May Join Big Ben Tours
Another interesting fact is that only British passport holders can join a tour of Big Ben. Apart from having a British passport, visitors must also be fit to reach the top of the tower and see Big Ben’s bells.
You have to pass as many as 334 steps before reaching the top of the tower.
3. One of the Most Accurate Watches in the World
Since its completion, the 316-foot clock tower has rarely stopped ticking. In fact, when a room in the tower exploded in a World War II-era bomb, the clock remained undamaged and was ticking.
The clock was ticking accurately because of the piles of coins placed on the pendulum.
4, World’s Largest Four-Sided Clock
Big Ben has the largest four-sided clock in the world. Each side is 7 meters in diameter and the minute hand reaches 4.2 meters.
Each watch face bears a message that reads: ‘DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM’ which translates to “Oh my God, watch over our First Queen Victoria.”
5, One of the UNESCO Historic Sites
At 96 meters, Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower are the most important parts of the Palace of Westminster.
In 1987, Big Ben was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
6, Big Ben Ever Stop Ringing
The buzzer from Big Ben was unheard of at some time but with good reason. For example, Big Ben had stopped ringing in 1916. Big Ben was deliberately silenced to prevent the arrival of German Zeppelin soldiers in World War I.
Big Ben has also been silenced after the death of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013. Meanwhile, Big Ben will also stop chiming for maintenance.
Citing The Guardian, the 157-year-old building will undergo restoration on its bells. Restoration work will take place from Monday, August 21, until 2021.
Restoration was needed to keep the giant clock in top condition for many years to come. In addition, restoration was needed to maintain the Elizabeth Tower, where Big Ben is located.
7, Every Year Big Ben Will Be Tuned To Be Accurate
To keep Big Ben accurate, every year the clock is well tuned to keep ticking exactly at that point. Interestingly, what kept Big Ben accurate was the use of the old English one cent coin.
If the clock runs fast, a penny is added to the pendulum. If it beats a little slow, then a penny is lost.
This clock operates with a Victorian mechanism that relies on gravity to trigger chimes per hour.