“One of the world’s most famous clocks ground to a halt for more than an hour-and-a-half on Friday silencing the chimes of Big Ben.” BBC News
We saw the clock tower many times while in London and every tour guide we listened to helped dispel the biggest misconceptions surrounding Big Ben: the mistaken belief that Big Ben is a clock.
Big Ben is a thirteen ton bell within the clock tower; a bell with one heck of a history.
During the second world war Big Ben became a symbol for British resilience and tenacity. Even after German bombs destroyed the Commons chamber of the Houses of Parliament the clock tower remained standing and Big Ben continued to chime away every hour on the hour. This sound was broadcast over radio waves and heard by millions around the world. My grandfather tells me that it was very reassuring to the British troops abroad to hear Big Ben’s chimes. It gave them all hope because if Big Ben could keep chiming then they could keep fighting.
On the day that dP and I went down to hear Big Ben chime we stood huddled under the canopy of a shop because it was pouring rain. When it rang I felt a shiver go up my spine because Big Ben is one of the most famous bells in the world — and to hear it’s unique less-than-perfect tone is electrifying.