The Big Ben in central London is an engineering marvel, one that has stood the test of time, and is one of the city’s big tourist hotspots. Completed in 1859, the structure was initially known as the Clock Tower just before becoming renamed to St Stephen’s Tower. In 2019, it was rechristened following Queen Elizabeth II. Standing at 96 m, the tower homes the fantastic bell and the striking clock, mentioned to be the world’s most correct. The bell — Big Ben — was the UK’s biggest for 23 years.
Big Ben history
A clock tower has stood at the Big Ben web-site — an extension of the Palace of Westminster, the UK Parliament complicated — considering that the 1290s.
The Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1834. Architect Charles Barry then reconstructed the complicated in the 1840s, with Augustus Welby Pugin executing his Big Ben design and style.
Construction started in 1845 at the Palace’s north finish. Pugin’s neo-Gothic technique meant building was carried out from the inside. As a outcome, Londoners seldom witnessed the components or the workers in the course of building.
The tower was constructed with bricks, covered with Anston stone, whilst a two-tier iron spire topped the constructing. A winding staircase is situated inside, an air shaft brings fresh air, and a weight shaft to assistance the clock. The tower base homes a prison meant for unruly MPs.
The clock’s design and style was the greatest challenge. At that juncture, time was measured by the sun and it was never ever correct. According to UK government documentation, the Astronomer Royal wanted the tower to property the world’s most correct turret clock. He ordered that the clock really should be correct to inside a second of the hour.
To carry out the Astronomer Royal’s wishes, 4 smaller quarter bells had been constructed with the fantastic bell. A quarter bell chimes each and every 15 minutes, whilst the fantastic bell strikes at the hour.
The Ayrton Light, installed at the prime of the tower, in 1892 signals when Parliament is in session following sunset and can be seen across London. It has been mentioned that, initially, the light shone towards Buckingham Palace so Queen Victoria could see if her MPs had been working.
The Big Ben has on various occasions gone silent, mainly for repair work, but also in the course of the Second World War when its chime had come to be a liability.
Big Ben restoration and new features
The UK government announced in 2017 that the tower would undergo a restoration method more than 4 years, mentioned to be the biggest and most complicated in its history.
The government had mentioned that Parliament was restoring the tower to its former glory. Additionally, its facilities would be modernised and upgraded to match into the 21st century. The government added that the project was essential to make certain the UNESCO World Heritage web-site was safeguarded for future generations.
The tower’s stones had been crumbling, its ironwork rusting, roofs leaking, and the clock aging. The £80 million project will see the tower undergoing repair and redecoration and improvements in well being and security systems. The tower will also come to be power effective. The restoration project also envisages installation of a lift to strengthen access for emergency services and upkeep, and constructing a kitchen and toilet.
The next Big Ben chime
The conversation project is probably to be completed by 2021. The clock’s hands had been restored to their original colour of Prussian blue on September 6. Workers found only in the course of the restoration that the clock’s hands had been blue, not black.
This Big Ben, which chimed for the last time on August 21, 2017, will next be sounded following its 2022 unveiling. The chiming of the bell was stopped to make certain the workers’ security. A short-term striking mechanism has been used to chime the bell on New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday considering that 2017.