Big Ben in London

There were two bells cast as the clock tower's hour bell. A first, sixteen ton weighing bell was cast by John Warner and Sons in 1856. Since the Clock Tower was not yet completed, the bell was hung temporarily in the Palace Yard. The bell soon cracked so it was recast in 1858 in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.5 ton bell. Unfortunately soon after this bell was placed in the belfry in July 1859, it cracked as well. This time, instead of yet again recasting the bell, the crack was repaired and a lighter hammer was used to prevent any more cracks.

Big Ben’s four-faced clock is set in a 23 feet (7m) frame on all sides of the Tower and was completed in May 1859. It has become one of the most recognisable British icons and its chimes are broadcasted by BBC radio every day.

It is one of the world’s most reliable clocks, withstanding rain, wind and snow. It even kept chiming during the bombing attacks of World War II. 

Although there are few occasions when Big Ben has suffered punctuality incidents, Londoners will never forget 1962 New Year’s Eve, when the clock chimed the new year 10 minutes late due to the harsh weather conditions.

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