Big Ben

large clock of parliament buildings in london

To the Minister of Public Works Sir Benjamin Hall, Baron Llanover (1802-1867).

Hall had strongly advocated the construction of the Grade II listed clock tower. Because Sir Benjamin was tall, he was nicknamed Big Ben. His nickname passed to the clock. During Hall's tenure, the clock of the Houses of Parliament was installed in London in 1859.

It weighed more than thirteen tons, had a diameter of 2.75 m and was 2.25 m high. She burst shortly after being hanged and remained silent for three years. The weight of the hammer was reduced from 330 to 200 kg. The crack is still visible and audible.

The radio made Big Ben a household name and a symbol. At the end of 1944, the BBC announced the 'silent minute', during which only the bangs of Big Ben could be heard for the evening news.

Like Churchill's speeches, those blows became moral support for the British during World War II. They also symbolized the resistance against the Germans.

The ringing of bells traditionally used to open BBC news bulletins changed dramatically in March 1990 following the replacement of the original bell hammer with a steel hammer.