10 Facts About Big Ben

1. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

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2. Big Ben is the largest of the tower's five bells and weighs 13.5 long tons.

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3. Elizabeth Tower, originally referred to as the Clock Tower, but more popularly known as Big Ben, was raised as a part of Charles Barry's design for a new Palace of Westminster, after the old palace was largely destroyed by fire on 16 October 1834.

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4. Main bell, officially known as the Great Bell but better known as Big Ben, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster.

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5. For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was repaired.

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6. Big Ben was the largest bell in the British Isles until "Great Paul", a 16.75-ton bell currently hung in St Paul's Cathedral, was cast in 1881.

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7. Origin of the nickname Big Ben is the subject of some debate.

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8. Now Big Ben is often used, by extension, to refer to the clock, the tower and the bell collectively, although the nickname is not universally accepted as referring to the clock and tower.

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9. Big Ben is a focal point of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and television stations airing its chimes to welcome the start of the New Year.

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10. Similarly, on Remembrance Day, the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and the start of the two minutes' silence.

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