Today in 1859, the bell nicknamed Big Ben first chimed the time in a clock tower in London. It has since become a symbol of the city and even of England.
Designed by Augustus Pugin, the Gothic Revival-style tower stands 316 feet high at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. This is where the Houses of Parliament meet.
Big Ben, as the clock and tower are known, is celebrated for its accuracy. The face of the clock is illuminated at night, and a special light indicates when Parliament is in session.
While overseas visitors can tour Parliament, they cannot tour the clock tower of Big Ben.
Why, by the way, is it called Big Ben, as opposed to Big Bob or Big Dalbert?
Theory one says the clock was named for Sir Benjamin Hall, the first commissioner of works, known in Parliament as Big Ben. Theory two says it was named for heavy weight fighter Benjamin Caunt, also called Big Ben. Take your pick.
The BBC first broadcast the Big Ben chimes on 31 December 1923, and it has continue doing so.