One of the most famous sights as well as a symbol of London, is considered to be a clock tower, which is part of the Palace of Westminster - the building, the seat of the famous English Parliament.
Sometimes, quite erroneously believed that this tower is known as "Big Ben".
In fact, the so-called only the largest bell in the complex clockwork.
The history of the most famous clock
Westminster Palace was partially destroyedby fire in 1834. Ten years later, it was decided not only to rebuild the missing again, but to do so on the new project, which included a clock tower. Construction of the building was launched September 28, 1843.
The watch design was developed by the Royalclockmaker Benjamin Lewis Valyami, but he came up with only their appearance, to the same clockwork it came only in 1846. The contest was announced with very strict conditions, these watches require a truly royal accuracy. Seven years later, the project won the astronomer of Her Majesty and enthusiastic clockmaker George Airy. Build invented them had to watch Edward John Dent. It was he who discovered that the tower is designed for small machinery. This caused a new delay and rework cost of the finished building in an additional 100 pounds (about 70 thousand pounds by modern standards). Finally the clock was installed in early 1859, but the "go" in May.
Initially the hands on the clock were made of cast iron, alloy weight but did not give them to show the exact time and replaced with a lighter, copper.
Bell, received later the name "Big Ben"also sounded not at once. First, cast in 1856, Westminster bell for hours, waiting for "his place" was hanged in New Palace Yard, and after less than a year old, has cracked. The second bell cast to replace, it was decided to do a little less, instead of the 16 he weighed 13.5 tons, but even lightweight version had to be raised to a "post" for thirty hours. For the first time on the big bell of Westminster spoke for hours July 11, 1859.
In September 1859, "Big Ben" has cracked and "silent" for four years, while Irie not invented to facilitate the hammer beating on it, and move the point of impact.
Why the bell called "Big Ben"
Why the bell in the tower of the Palace of Westminstercalled big (in English "big") - is understandable, because his "fellow heavyweights" can be counted on the fingers. Bells with a weight of 9 tons are already considered "heroes." But why "Ben"? Even the indigenous Londoners can not give a definite answer to this question. Officially recognized by the two versions. The first states that "Big Ben" bell is named after a man followed his installation, Sir Benjamin (Ben abbreviated) Hall. Supporters say the second, that the bell came to be called so because of the British public's favorite at the time, heavyweight boxer Benjamin Count.