London has seen it fair share of calamities with the 1666 fire of London, and the burning of Parliament in 1834, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, if it weren’t for the burning of Parliament, we would have never known one of London most famous landmarks “Big Ben”. We need to thank architect Barry Charles for including a Clock Tower, to the House of Parliament. Construction started in 1840 and it took 20 years to complete.
The 96m Clock Tower, or as it is known today Elizabeth’s Tower, was completed with 4 clocks, each clock 7 metres in diameter, glazed with 312 separate pieces of opal. Oddly enough the design of the clocks is owed to a barrister called Edmund Beckett Denison, who then forgot to patent the design. The clock runs on a pendulum system and requires constant winding up, old English pennies are used to either speed up or slow down the clock by either adding or removing from the pendulum. During the recent refurbishment it was also discovered that the hands of the clock were not black but Prussian Blue and have been restored as such. Obviously in the belfry hangs the enormous 13.7 ton bell which is known as the Great Bell aka “Big Ben”, so named after Sir Benjamin Hall, first commissioner of the works and why the tower is referred to as “Big Ben”.