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.
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.
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.