Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Ben: the world's most famous clock is 150 today!

Big Ben marks 150th anniversary The clock tower in Parliament Square, Westminster, is being given a spring clean following a year of activities in recognition of the landmark. Technically Big Ben refers only to the clock's largest bell, but has become synonymous with the clock tower itself. The bell, cast in Whitechapel on 10 April 1858, was first rung in the Great Westminster Clock on 31 May 1859. (link via BBC News) Big Ben 1859 -2009 (official Home Page) UK Parliament - Big Ben (Clock Tower tour) and Google honoured Big Ben with a special google doodle: Google Doodle: Big Ben 150 years - UK Edited to add this information from the official site: Tours of the tower are free and open to UK residents who have requested a visit through their local MP. Children under the age of 11 are not permitted. Tours for overseas visitors are currently not permitted. Please note that it is not possible to queue on the day to tour the tower - advance bookings must be made through your MP.


  1. I used to work with a Ben whose birthday is today!
    I did the Clock Tower tour when I was at school, which was just a few years ago! xx

  2. One of these days, we will do the Clock Tower tour. I bet it was very interesting.

  3. I didn't realize Big Ben was this old. Sounds like it would be a great tour!

  4. Yes, I think it would be a fascinating tour. I've always meant to do it but I've just realized I won't be able to after reading more details about it.

    This is from the official site:

    "Touring the Clock Tower involves climbing 334 small, spiral steps and there are no lifts – so, to get the most out of your visit, it’s essential that you feel confident in your health and fitness."


    "The tour is not recommended for pregnant women, people who are afraid of heights or confined/enclosed spaces, or who are prone to vertigo (a type of dizziness)."

    Well, I won't be able to do it because even though I'm fit enough to climb 334 spiral steps, I actually do suffer from the medical conditon, vertigo (which is not a fear of heights) or the correct name which is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It means I can become suddenly very dizzy and I can't predict when an attack will occur so there's no way I will consider attempting the climb. Oh well. It was a nice idea.