London 2013: The Tower of Big Ben

We took the Jubilee line to Westminster Station one morning and arrived at the foot of Westminster Bridge just in time to hear Big Ben strike ten times.

We heard the first of ten bongs at exactly ten o'clock.

We heard the first of ten bongs at exactly ten o’clock.

A little later that morning we hopped on a Big Bus for some sightseeing and we passed Big Ben again a little over an hour later.

Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge lion.

Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge Lion.

View of the UK's Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace from Westminster Bridge. That's Victoria Tower on the left and the Tower of Big Ben on the right.

View of the UK’s Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace from Westminster Bridge. That’s Victoria Tower on the left and the Tower of Big Ben on the right.

I got this shot of the tower and the London Eye on the Big Bus as we explored landmarks on the south side of the Thames.

I got this shot of the tower and the London Eye on the Big Bus as we explored landmarks on the south side of the Thames.

After about an hour we crossed the Thames again and headed back to Westminster.

After about an hour we crossed the Thames again and headed back to Westminster.

The building was completed in 1858 and for most of the rest of the 19th century members of the House of Commons called it St Stephen’s Tower. For most of the 20th century it was simply referred to as The Clock Tower. Then last year it was officially renamed Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s the third largest free-standing clock tower in the world and it holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world.

Big Ben is the nickname for the bell, not the clock, not the tower. But the official name of the bell is The Great Bell.

There have been many songs written about London over the years. A Foggy Day in London Town comes to mind. And we all remember that nightingale singing in Berkeley Square. Then there are those old nursery rhyme favorites Oranges and Lemons and London Bridge is Falling Down. But our favorite song of all is that country ditty from the 60s by Roger Miller:

England Swings like a Pendulum do / Bobbies on bicycles two by two / Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben / The rosy red cheeks of the little children.

It’s London’s most famous landmark, whatever you want to call it. But we like to call it the Tower of Big Ben.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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2 Responses to London 2013: The Tower of Big Ben

  1. Debbie says:

    These are great, Dad! Great pictures!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Pingback: London 2013: Walking around Westminster | Crow Canyon Journal

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