Big Ben is a bell in central London, by Westminster Bridge. It’s the famous huge bell within the tower that chimes every hour. The tower also houses several smaller bells that strike every quarter. Here the name Big Ben refers to the entity consisting of the bells, the clock and the tower itself.
More famous than the chiming bell, are the clocks that can be seen on the outside. There are four clocks that show time, each in one direction. Big Ben is the largest four-faced clock in the world. During its history of 150 years, it has kept time very accurately, and there have only been a few problems. The latest unplanned stop took place in 2005, when the clock stopped for 1.5 hours. Some planned maintenance, during which the clock had to be stopped, have taken place after that.
The tower is 96.3 meters (or 315 feet) tall and the clock faces are situated at height of 55 meters. The tower’s upper part is made of cast iron, and the tower itself has no elevator nor are tourist tours allowed. Main functions of the tower, clocks and bells are to be seen and heard. And naturally, symbolize London and the whole British Empire.