London Architecture

Big Ben

Official name: Elizabeth Tower
Also known as
Saint Stephen's Tower
Formerly known as Parliament Clock Tower
Bridge Street
London, England SW1
Basic Information
Designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin
Type Tower
Maximum height 320 feet/96 meters
Neighborhood: Westminster
More Information
  • Over the years there has been historical debate over who designed the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower commonly known as Big Ben. Charles Barry began the design, but then hired Augustus Pugin to complete it. Pugin, himself, has been quoted as giving Barry the credit for the better half og the work.
  • 1949: Big Ben's time falls behind by 4½ minutes when a flock of birds perches on the minute hand.
  • 1962: Big Ben sounds the New Year ten minutes late because of a buildup of heavy snow on its hands.
  • 20 March, 2004: Protesters scale Big Ben and unfurl a banner protesting war.
  • 30 October, 2005: Big Ben is paused for several hours so workers could perform routine maintenance and inspections.
  • 2012: The clock tower was officially renamed "Elizabeth Tower" in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.