On This Day: August 21, 2017 — Big Ben Goes Silent At Noon — Until 2020s.
“Big Ben Goes Silent: “On 21 August 2017, a four-year schedule of renovation works began on the tower, which are to include the addition of a lift [elevator]. There are also plans to re-glaze and repaint the clock dials. With a few exceptions, such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday, the bells are to be silent until the work has been completed in the 2020s.”
Facts & Information:
“Big Ben . . . is one of the most recognizable clocks on the planet.”
Big Ben is the standard in England. When Big Ben Chimes, people check their timepiece and adjust their watch to match what “Ben” says the time is — well at least within 2 seconds.
“Officials say the famous clock at Britain’s Parliament – used by Londoners for decades to check the time . . . . [have] had corrected the clock to within “normal parameters” – within 2 seconds of the right time. They will continue to adjust it by placing pennies on the pendulum – or removing them – to fine-tune its speed.” – global news
Big Ben is London’s Standard!
“Big Ben” is actually the name of the largest bell in the clock tower and “Big Ben” is its nickname. The actual name is “The Great Bell.”
The Great Bell weighs approximately 13.5 tons, is 9 feet in diameter and 7 feet 6 inches high.
The actual clock is located in “The Clock Tower” or “formerly called “St. Stephen’s Tower,” or what is now named “The Elizabeth Tower” — after 2012’s renaming of it.
The clock tower is situated on the banks of the River Thames on the north side of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
Big Ben is the largest of the bells located in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminister
The tower was completed in 1859.
The tower stands 315 feet high.
There are 334 steps to the belfry.
Its base is 39 X 39 feet
The tower’s 150th anniversary was on May 31, 2009.
Designers: Augustus Pugin along with Edmund Beckett Denison, and George Airy
“The clock’s movement is famous for its reliability.”
“They also specified that the engineers should design it so that it was accurate to within 2 seconds each week.”
Actually constructed by Edward & Frederick Dent
Edmund Denison invented the double three-legged gravity escapement clock mechanism which separated the pendulum from the actual clock mechanism.
The pendulum is located in an enclosed windproof box beneath the clockroom. The pendulum is 13 feet long, weighs 660 pounds, suspended on a strip of spring steel 1⁄64 inch in thickness, and beats every two seconds. — wikipedia
The clockwork mechanism is located in a room below and weighs five tons.
“On top of the pendulum is a small stack of old penny coins; these are to adjust the time of the clock. Adding a coin has the effect of minutely lifting the position of the pendulum’s centre of mass, reducing the effective length of the pendulum rod and hence increasing the rate at which the pendulum swings. Adding or removing a penny will change the clock’s speed by 0.4 seconds per day. The clock is hand wound (taking about 1.5 hours) three times a week.” – wikipedia
The clock is the second largest, four “face” clock in the world (Minneapolis City Hall Clock being the largest).
The clock dials are 23 feet in diameter.
There are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial
The clock tower uses four “quarter bells” or “chimes” to sound on the 15, 30, and 45-minute marks, as well on the hour just before Big Ben sounds.
It sounds is said to be heard for a five-mile radius.
Reflects the spirit of the English – punctuality!
“A light in the clock tower tells when the House of Commons is in session.”
Key Illustrative Thoughts:
• the standard
• 150 years later, still setting the time
• 24/7/365 years of setting the standard
• still two seconds off
• absolute holiness is the standard
• always needs to be rewound — three times a week
• chimes time four times an hour
• Most Are Mistaken: Big Ben is a bell, not a clock
• Old & Still Reliable
• heard ringing out the time for five miles
• telling the time
• human ingenuity
• the right standard
• if your clock is different, change it
• on time
• it’s time
• it’s about time
• it’s high time
Other Information & Links
“The last time Big Ben fell silent for maintenance was in 2007, but this will be the longest period that the Great Bell will have its bongs paused in 157 years.”
“The first casting of the bell had failed; the second casting was made by George Mears of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and was pulled to the tower by a wagon team of 16 horses. Shortly after it was installed, it too developed a crack and was kept out of service until its repair in 1862. Denison blamed the crack on the foundry, which sued him for libel (the case was settled out of court). For two years during World War I, Big Ben’s bell was silent to prevent enemy aircraft from using it to hone in on the Houses of Parliament, and during World War II its clock was not illuminated for the same reason. In 1934 and 1956 the bell was restored and repaired.” — britannica
“The most iconic clock in the world, housed in Elizabeth Tower, comes to a halt for four to five hours twice a year during the changeover from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time and back again. The team behind the tourist attraction uses the opportunity to inspect the clock’s mechanism and do essential maintenance.” — mashable