By RasmaSandra
102 days ago

Telling Time by Big Ben

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One of the most famous landmarks in London, England is the well-known tower clock called Big Ben. It sits at the top of 320 foot high St. Stephen’s Tower and rings out the hours over the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben began counting time on May 31, 1859. Today it is one of the symbols of London which tourists look for when they come to visit the city.

In October of 1834, a great deal of the Palace of Westminster which is the headquarters of the British Parliament was destroyed by fire. Afterward, there were plans made for a new palace and a large clock tower. Sir George Airy who was the royal astronomer wanted this clock to have pinpoint accuracy as well as checks two times a day with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. To make this possible Airy sought the help of Edmund Beckett Denison who was an expert in horology or the science of measuring time.

The result was Big Ben and once St. Stephen’s Tower was completed the clock could be installed. I would have loved to see the scene as the bell was transported to the tower. It weighed in at over 13 tons; the huge bell was pulled through the streets of London by 16 horses as people looked on and cheered. After being installed Big Ben let out its first chimes on May 31, 1959. Unfortunately, the heavy striker cracked the bell and it took three years before it was corrected and the clock could strike again. A lighter hammer was added and the bell was made to rotate so that the hammer would strike another spot but the crack itself was never repaired.

For those of you who are a bit confused here, you probably are thinking like I am. I have always thought that the whole clock was called Big Ben right from the start. However, it was the bell which was referred to as “Big Ben” and only, later on, referred to the whole clock. Big Ben’s accurate timekeeping is regulated by coins placed in a stack on its very large pendulum to make sure that the clock hands move steadily at all times. There are four clock faces each one of them 23 feet across and at night they are illuminated. Above Big Ben, there is a light which is lit up so that the public knows when Parliament is in session.

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102d
soncee Lovely this place
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102d