Big Ben Fast Facts | CNN


Here’s some information about Big Ben, the clock and bell in the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament in London.

It is one of England’s most famous landmarks.

The name Big Ben originally referred only to the bell, but today it includes the clock, the tower and the bell.

Big Ben strikes the hour and has quarter bells that strike every fifteen minutes.

Tours are only available to UK residents by booking through a Member of Parliament or a member of the House of Lords.

Visitors go through airport security checks.

The area is monitored using CCTV cameras, alarms and other security technologies.

1843 – Construction of the clock tower begins.

February 1852 – Watchmaker Edward John Dent has been hired to design the watch.

1853 – Dent is dead. His stepson, Frederick Dent, takes over the project.

1856-1857 – The bell is cast in the north of England and transported to London. A crack develops and a replacement bell is thrown.

April 10, 1858 – The replacement hood, 2.5 tons lighter than the original, is cast or molded.

1859 – The construction of the tower is finished.

May 1859 – The clock starts keeping time.

July 11, 1859 – Big Ben strikes for the first time.

September 1859 – Two months after its first chime, Big Ben’s bell cracks and is out of commission. A smaller quarter bell rings the hour for four years. In 1863, the large bell was turned over to be struck with a smaller hammer on an undamaged part.

1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast by BBC Radio on New Year’s Eve.

April 1939-1945 – The clock dials are blacked out due to wartime blackout regulations.

August 1976 – Nine months of repairs begin.

2007 – Big Ben is silent for seven weeks as repairs are carried out on the clock.

2009 – Special events throughout the year celebrate Big Ben’s 150th anniversary.

2011 – It is noticeable that Big Ben is starting to lean to one side. It is estimated that there is a change of less than one millimeter per year.

September 12, 2012 – Big Ben has been renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, her 60th year on the throne.

October 2015 – The British newspapers, the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times, say that the clock needs to be fixed. A parliamentary report says Big Ben could stop working or its clock hands could fall if it is not upgraded.

2016 – More than $42 million in repairs are scheduled for early 2017. The clock will not chime for several months while they are being upgraded. This will be the third time in Big Ben’s 157-year history that the clock will fall silent.

August 14, 2017 – Parliament announces that Big Ben will fall silent on August 21 and will remain so until 2021, when repairs are expected to be completed. Repairs are estimated to cost around 29 million pounds, or more than $42 million.

September 29, 2017 – In a statement, the House of Commons announced that the estimated cost of repairs to Big Ben had doubled from £29m to £61m.

February 13, 2020 – Workers have discovered “extensive” World War II bomb damage to the Elizabeth Tower, which will increase the cost of restoration from £61.1 million to £79.7 million ($79.7 million to $104 million). Plans to complete the restoration in 2021 are still on track, according to a House of Commons statement.

April 26, 2021 – The deadline for the completion of the restoration project is extended until 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

December 21, 2021 – Big Ben is scheduled to chime on New Year’s Eve after four years of silence.

July 18, 2022 – The House of Commons has announced that the restoration will be completed in October.

8 feet, 8 inches in diameter

7 feet, 2 inches tall

It weighs 13.7 tons

The Elizabeth Tower, where the bell rings, is 315 feet (96 meters) tall.

The clock weighs about 5 tons. The hour hands are nearly 9 feet long and the minute hands are nearly 14 feet long.