Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big Ben

Big Ben is the name of the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. A clock tower was built at Westminster in 1288 and the clock first ticking was on 31 May 1859. Big Ben is the biggest four-faced, chiming clock in the world. The clock is famous for its reliability.

A survey of 2,000 people was conducted in 2008 that came up with conclusion that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom. It was designed by Charles Barry. The tower is 96.3 metres high. Nowadays the Tower leans slightly towards northwest by 220 millimetres.

The bell of 'Big Ben' weighs 16.3 tonnes. The bell of Clock Tower did not stop working even during World War 2. At the base of each clock face is a Latin inscription, in gilt letters. It reads - DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM, which means "O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First".
On 5th of August in 1976 there was the first and only major breakdown - the speed regulator of the chiming mechanism broke.

On 29 of October in 2005 he mechanism was stopped for about 33 hours.
It celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 2009. The Clock Tower is a focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and TV stations tuning to its chimes to welcome the start of the year. The clock has become a symbol of the United Kingdom and London, particularly in the visual media.

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