BIG BEN FACTS
Interesting Facts about Big Ben
Much attention is given to the chimes of Big Ben. But how
much do we know about the famous Westminster clock? There are many people
who ask when was Big Ben built or who built it, but for these facts you can
easily find an answer on our site.
On this page you can find some
interesting and lesser known facts about Big Ben:
1. Although now generally applied to the clock and tower,
the name 'Big Ben' was originally given to the hour bell cast by John Warner
and Sons in 1856.
2. The 'Ben' in the name is thought to be a tribute to Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner of works
for the project, who was, appropriately, a man of great size.
3. The diameter of each of the clock's four dials is 23ft and each contains 312 panes of
4. The hour hands are 9ft long, the minute hands are 14ft long, and the numerals are 2ft
5. The hour bell - Big Ben itself - chimes the note E.
6. The 'Westminster Chimes', played on the quarterhour, were once the Cambridge Chimes, having
first sounded on the clock at Great St Mary's, Cambridge.
7. In 1857, the original Big Ben bell cracked under the weight of the striking hammer. See
bellow a picture of New Big Ben Bell from that period:
The New Big Ben Bell
8. The base of each clock face bears a Latin phrase: 'Domine salvam fac reginam nostram
Victoriam Primam'. This means 'Lord save our Queen Victoria I'.
9. The first radio broadcast of Big Ben's chimes was to welcome in the New Year of
10. Big Ben's clock lost four-and-a-half minutes in August 1949 when a flock of starlings
perched on a minute hand.