London has many landmarks, but none is more popular than the Big Ben. This clock tower is probably the most prominent and well known attraction in not only London, but England as well. Its history and Victorian structure attracts millions of tourists every year. It is located on the side of the House of Parliament in Westminster, London. But, what makes this tower so special? The tower is home to the largest four-faced chiming bell in the world. Additionally, Big Ben is 315 foot high—making it the third tallest free standing clock tower. Do I not tell you all these exciting big ben facts for kids?
Now, if you think that’s interesting, read ahead and find out more about this fascinating tower.
Big Ben Facts For Kids
When was the tower built?
The clock took nearly 13 years to build and finally began ticking in the summer of 1858; but it wasn’t until July 1859 when the bell was first chimed. It now rings every 15 minutes without delay.
Amazingly, this clock still rang after the House of Parliament was bombed in during the Second World War. The house was completely destroyed, but the clock was unharmed.
Why was the Tower built?
Originally, the land where the Big Ben Tower now stands, used to be occupied by the Old Palace of Westminster. However, when the Palace was tragically destroyed in a fire in the winter of 1834, the Tower was built along with the construction of the House of Parliament.
Well, it wasn’t. Big Ben was actually the name of the four faced bell inside the tower, not the tower itself. However, due to popular misconception, the tower came to be known as Big Ben. Furthermore, the tower has been renamed as the Elizabeth Tower. The name was changed as to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee.
But, why Big Ben?
Big Ben is actually a nickname. The original name of the bell being the Great Bell. However, it didn’t quite catch on. The conception of the name is rather debatable. Nobody knows the exact origin; however, two prominent theories are: The bell was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works. His name is actually inscribed on the bell itself. The second theory suggests the bell was named after Ben Caunt, a well-known and respected heavyweight boxing champion.
Want to hear another interesting fact?
If you have ever seen the clock face, you’ll notice some writing imprinted on it. It reads:
DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM RIMAM
Translation: O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.
Is Big Ben tilted?!
Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The clock tower is actually tilted. Due to some tunnel excavation nearby, the tower became a little slanted. It leans slightly towards the northwest by 8.66 inches.
So, we have Big Ben, is there a Little Ben?
Surprisingly yes. If you look at the top of the clock tower, you’ll see a weather vane. That’s Little Ben.
Has the clock ever been wrong?
Even though the clock is maintained and it’s time is kept accurate, there have been some incidents where the clock was inaccurate. In 1949, a flock of birds’ constant pecking on the minute hand made it slow down by 4.5 minutes.
Now that you know everything about London’s most famous landmark, show off your new found knowledge with friends and family.