One of the most famous attractions, as well as the symbol of London, is the clock tower, which is part of the Palace of Westminster - the building where the famous English Parliament sits.
Sometimes it is completely mistakenly believed that this tower is called "Big Ben".
In fact, this is the only name for the largest bell in the complex clockwork.
History of the most famous watch
Westminster Palace was partially destroyedFire in 1834. Ten years later, it was decided not only to rebuild the missing anew, but also to do it under a new project that included a clock tower. The construction of the building itself was started on September 28, 1843.
The design of the watch was designed by the royalWatchmaker Benjamin Lewis Valyami, but he came up with only their appearance, until the same watch movement came to only in 1846. A competition was announced with very tough conditions, from these hours they demanded truly royal accuracy. Seven years later, the project was won by the astronomer Her Majesty and enthusiastic watchmaker George Airy. To build the clock he invented was supposed to be Edward John Dent. It was he who discovered that the tower is small for a projected mechanism. This caused new delays, and alterations to the finished building cost an additional £ 100 (about 70 thousand pounds by modern standards). Finally, the clock was installed in early 1859, but "went" only in May.
Initially, the hands on the watch were made of cast iron, but the weight of the alloy did not allow them to show the exact time and they were replaced by lighter, copper ones.
The bell, later called the "Big Ben"Also did not sound right away. The first, cast in 1856, a bell for the Westminster watch, in anticipation of "its place" was hanged in New Palace Yard and, after not working for a year, cracked. The second bell, cast for replacement, it was decided to do a little less, instead of 16 tons, it weighed 13.5, but even the light version had to be lifted to the "place of service" for thirty hours. The first time a large bell on the Westminster Clock was cast on July 11, 1859.
In September 1859, the Big Ben cracked and "remained silent" for four years, until Airy thought of easing the hammer that hit him and displacing the impact site.
Why the bell was called "Big Ben"
Why the bell on the tower of the Palace of WestminsterCalled big (in English "big") - it is understandable, because his "fellow-heavyweights" can be counted on the fingers. Bells weighing 9 tons are already considered "heroes." But why "Ben"? Even native Londoners can not give an unambiguous answer to this question. Two versions are officially recognized. The first says that the "Big Ben" bell is named after the person following his installation, Sir Benjamin (abbreviated to Ben) Hall. Supporters of the second say that the bell was so called because of the favorite of the English public of that time, heavyweight boxer Benjamin Kaunt.