Ask anyone who has walked the streets of London and most likely they heard the “ding-dong” chimes of the Great Bell nicked named Big Ben. That is if they happened to have crossed anywhere in the area of Westminster, London. Big Ben lives on the 320-foot (97.53M) Clock Tower, renamed recently as The Elizabeth Tower and is more than 150 years old. If you thought Big Ben was a person you thought wrong. It is a four-faced chiming clock and a bell placed at Westminster Palace and has been recognized as a beloved landmark in England for years. He’s been around for so long, it makes you wonder what he would say if he could talk!
Fun Facts about Big Ben
Big Ben was created at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry on the 10th April 1858 and took two weeks to cool down once it was poured into the mold. It was transported to Westminster on a horse drawn carriage and a mammoth crowd lined the streets to cheer as Big Ben passed by. Ben’s bell weighs a massive 13.8 tons, as heavy as two large elephants. The Bell is 2.2 meters (7 feet 2 inches) high and also has a diameter of 2.7 meters (8 feet 10 inches). The Big Ben clock is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. 31st May 1859 was when Big Ben started ticking and its four faces stand 55 meters above the ground. Each face of the clock is 7 meters (23 feet), the hour hand 2.7 meters (9 feet), and the minute hand 4.3 meters (14 feet) long.
The Immortal Big Ben
Yes, Big Ben seems to be immortal (living forever). He has had a couple of injuries, though. Just after his birth, Big Ben cracked during testing and had to be made all over again. The Bell has lived over 150 years and is still chiming in the streets of Westminster. Big Ben has three birthdays; that’s on 10th April 1858, 31st May 1859, and finally 11th July 1859 when it first chimed. None of the wars which have raged in Europe have ever destroyed him.
Musically Speaking, Ben is a Genius
The Big Ben Bell chimes the musical note of A, and the quarter bells at the tower chime G sharp, F sharp, B, and E. The sequence of pitches produced by Big Ben when chiming is named the Cambridge Chimes. The chimes are also programmed to sound like they are actual words from Psalm 37. Anyone who stands in the belfry as Big Ben chimes will experience musical vibrations running from their head, through their bodies, into their toes.
Big Ben is Celebrated all over the World
Big Ben is the pride of Londoners and has been honored for hundreds of years. Did you know that New Year’s celebrations in the United Kingdom are conducted at Big Ben’s he Elizabeth Tower? TV and Radio stations in London tune to the chimes of Big Ben during the New Year and audiences far into the country listen to the Musical Ben. England voted Big Ben the number one British landmark during a 2008 survey. Is there anyone who wants to try something magical? Well, stand with a portable radio at the bottom of Big Ben’s tower and try to hear the chimes from either the radio or the tower. The chimes will be heard on the radio first even before the ones from the tower are heard! Big Ben’s sound is as fast as light!
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