Print

Interesting facts as Big Ben goes silent for four years


[8/21/2017 3:30:00 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Big Ben may be one of the world’s most recognizable monuments but there are still things we may not know about it. Here are a few snippets worth revisiting.

The clock used to ring 12 times at midday London Time and is now set to go silent for four years for renovation.

The name:
Big Ben is the name of the clock but the name of the tower is Elizabeth. It was given this name in 2012 in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

There are two theories about the clock’s name: The engineer, Benjamin Hall, who built it, and whose name is written on it, or it could have been named after heavy weight boxing legend Ben Caunt.

The clock:
Weighing a total of 13.7 tons, Big Ben is 2.2 meters high and has a diameter of 2.7 meters. It sounds the hours on the mid note at a level of 118 decibels. There are four smaller ring every quarter of an hour with a melody in sharper tones.

Big Ben hammer weighs 200 kg. Each of the clock’s four dials displays a diameter of 7 meters, and their Roman numerals a length of 60 centimeters.

The large hands, those of the minutes, are made of copper and measure 4.2 meters, for a weight of 100 kg each. The small ones, in bronze, are shorter – 2.7 meters – but heavier: 300 kg.

The tower:
The 96-meters-high tower has 11 floors, 334 steps to the belfry and 399 to the lantern. The bell was installed in October 1858 and the tower was completed in 1859.

The clock began ticking on May 31 that year and Big Ben sounded for the first time on July 11.

Interruptions:
Big Ben cracked two months after its commissioning, damaged by the hammer that was eventually replaced. She had then killed herself for four years.

In April 2013, it was stopped during the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female prime minister.

The bells also stopped for inspection in October 2005 and for seven weeks for maintenance in 2007. There were other interruptions between 1983-1985, in 1979 for a period of nine months, 1956 for six months and 1934 for two months.

Coin and tweet:
Old penny coins are used to ensure that the clock remains accurate. Adding a penny to the pendulum mechanism saves two fifths of a second per day while removing the weight allows the reverse to slow down the clock.

Big Ben has a Twitter account - unofficial of course – that tweets every hour the number of “bongs” issued by the bell. It has 484,000 followers.

*Al Arabiya

copy right for ammonnews.net