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Transcript of Big Ben
The tower itself was designed by Charles Barry, the clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. At first the dials were going be nine meters in diameter. The quarter chimes were to be struck on eight smaller bells. The plans for the design did change and today; the tower rises to a total height of 96.3 meters. The first 61 meters of the Clock Tower is made up of brickwork covered in limestone. The top 31 meters of the tower is made from a heavy iron (cast iron). The bells inside are made of a combination of bronze and tin. There are four quarter bells and one hour bell. There are four clock faces (clock dials). The dials are seven meters in diameter. In each dial there are 312 pieces of glass. The minute hands are 4.2 meters long and weigh about 100kg. The numbers on the clock are 60cm long.
Before the clock tower and the House of Parliaments was built, the Palace of Westminster stood in their very spot. The Palace of Westminster was where discussions were held and parliament would meet. A fire took place in the Palace and burnt it down. The parliament needed a new place to meet and discuss so they made a design to rebuild it and they agreed a tower and a clock should be added. Construction began on September 28, 1843. The clock was built inside out so frames couldn't be seen my pedestrians. The building went on for 15 more years. The construction was thought to be over April 10, 1858. Many things went wrong delaying the tower even longer. Since all these complications took place there wasn't really a grand opening ceremony for the Elizabeth tower. It's first chime was on the 31st of May, 1859.
The first problem happened when they discovered that the architect had not made the needed plan for the clock in the tower. They then had to modify the clock so it would fit in the walls.
The tower was still under construction so the bell was put in the New Palace Yard. The bell weighed 16 tons, two tons heavier than it was supposed to be. So instead of making the bell smaller they made the hammer heavier. One year later while still in the Palace Yard the bell cracked badly while being struck. They fixed the broken bell with the same metal used in it.
Once it was in the tower the great hour bell cracked while being struck by the same large hammer that ruined the first bell. For that time the hours were struck on the largest of the quarter bells for two years. They figured it wouldn't be likely to have the bell recast again. So instead they turned the bell a quarter to the side to move the crack away from where the hammer strikes. A lighter hammer was replaced for the larger one.
The Great Westminster Clock is the official name of the clock
Third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world
The quarter chiming bells are in the key of F
The hour bell (Big Ben) is note E
Only British citizens can book tours to the top of Elizabeth Tower.
A golden inscription, written in Latin, is at the base of each clock dial. It reads “Domine Salvam Fac Reginam Nostrum Victoriam Primam”, meaning “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”.
Big Ben's sound can be heard for a radius of up to 5 miles.
The clock’s time is adjusted every year with an old British penny. If the clock is fast, a penny is added to the timer, and if the clock is slow, one is removed.
The tilt of Big Ben needed to be controlled because it is connected to the Palace of Westminster. If Big Ben began to tilt it would cause cracking where the tower and Palace connect. Certain measures were put into the design to have less ground movement. Stiff walls and internal support were added for stability.
Any deep digging in the ground causes ground movements. Vertical ground movements would cause possible damage. Horizontal ground movements could also cause damage. Construction of the New Palace Yard underground parking lot, caused the tower to tilt towards the parking lot. So Big Ben is only 34 m from the deep underground area which makes it a cause for concern. It's lean is 0.26 degrees and no repair is supposed to be done before 2020.
By: Jadyn Herperger 7N