Possibly the most famous clock face and chimes in
the world, Big Ben is actually the name of the biggest bell (13.5
tons) inside The Clock Tower (320ft) which forms part of the HOUSES
Built in 1858/9 the bell was named after one Sir Benjamin Hall
and when it was cast it was Britain's heaviest bell.
clock's four dials each have a diameter of 23ft, the minute hands
are 14ft long and the numerals on each face are nearly 2 feet
high. The accuracy of the clock movement is controlled by the
placing of old pennies in the mechanism.
There is a light at the top of the tower which,
when lit, indicates that the House of Commons is sitting. During
the day you can tell if they're sitting by looking for a flag
at the top of the nearby Victoria Tower which is the tallest and
largest of the Westminster towers.
The tower which houses Big Ben has been called by
many names, one of the most popular being St Stephen's Tower.
However, the official line, from the Head of Public Information
at the Palace is that the Clock Tower is simply called The Clock
Tower. The subject of John Buchan's "39 Steps", the
Clock Tower is unfortunately not open to the public so you won't
be able to check how many steps actually lead to the belfry.