31 December-Big Ben Chimes

The Big Ben clock tower in the Palace of Westminster in London was designed by the architect Augustus Pugin. Pugin is reputed to have designed The Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland. He designed many famous buildings in Ireland including the Co. Wexford churches at Gorey, Tagoat and Barntown and the Cathedrals at Enniscorthy and Killarney. He also designed the seminary at Maynooth in County Kildare. The Great Bell in the clock tower in the Palace of Westminster has the nickname Big Ben. However Big Ben is usually used to refer to the clock and clock tower.

On the night of October 16th 1834 the old Palace of Westminster in London was, for the most part, destroyed by fire. Architect Charles Barry won the competition to build the new palace and he commissioned Alexander Pugin to design the clock tower. The tower, which is 96m high was completed in 1858. It has four clocks the dials of which are each 7m in diameter. The numbers on the clock are approximately 60cm long. The chimes of Big Ben, the massive bell in the tower were first heard on May 31st 1859.

In 2012 the Clock Tower was renamed Elizabeth Tower in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year. It is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, a major tourist attraction and has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom.

Big Ben Chimes were first broadcast on the BBC in the year 1923 On This Day.

Big Ben


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