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The landmarks name "Big Ben" does not actualy reffer to the tower, but the largest of the five bells contained inside the clock tower. Who has listened once to BBC radio knows the magestic chimes the bells make at every hour. Contruction of the tower begun in 1834 after a fire destroyed most of the old Palace of Westminster. Architect Charles Bary was given the task of rebuilding the Palace but he outdid himself by including this grand clock tower in his plans.
The tower was completed in 1856 and took more than 13 years to complete. The spire that rises above the belfry is built with an iron frame, and it is this frame which supports the weight of the bells. Inside the tower there is a staircase which leads upwards to a splendid view at the top of the tower. Small rooms can also be found inside the tower and there also is a small prison cell.
The hour bell weighs more than 13 tons, and has a diameter of 2.5 metres. The bell was so heavy that it took 35 hours to lift on top of the tower. The bell began ringing the hours in July of 1859, but it cracked after only two months of use. The bell wasn't changed, but instead it was welded and a lighter hammer replaced the old one. The bell was named after Sir Benjamin Hall who was the Commissioner of Works, who was known for his bulk as that of a bells.
The dials messure 7 metres in diameter and the dial faces are composed of many small pieces of opal glass, assembled like a stained glass window. The pieces can be removed in case of repairs or maintanance. The numbers on the clock faces are each two feet high and the inscription "God save our Queen Victoria I" in latin can be found bellow.
The clock mechanism, was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison, and it has proven to be remarkably accurate over the years, small adjustments to the clock's rate where made by placing pennies on a small shoulder of the clock's pendulum. It was designed by designed by Edmund Beckett Denison. The clock mechanism is one of the largest in the world and at that time was the biggest clock mechanism ever made.
The best time to admire the structure is at night when its faces are iluminated as is Westminter Abbey. The view is breath taking. Big Ben is another structure built many years ago which will remain a landmark for simple and beautifull arhitecture and excellent engineering which will continue to atract touristis for many generations to come.