Big Ben, the common name of the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Houses of Parliament in London, is a symbol of the United Kingdom and London.
After the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, a new structure had to be built and it included the clock tower, which would become one of the most famous monuments in the world. Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was the theorist of design in charge of the drawings. Big Ben was built in Neo-gothic style, being completely operational in September 1859. It’s base is made up of brickwork with sand colored Anston limestone and it is 96.3 metres high, as the four clock dials are 55 metres above ground and the interior volume of the structure is 4,650 cubic metres. Edward John Dent, who was a famous English watchmaker well known in his time for his accurate clocks and marine chronometers, was given the task of organizing the technical details and as a results the Great Clock of Westminster has always been renowned for its reliability.
The clock managed to run perfectly during the damages and torments of the Second World War, yet inevitable malfunctions and breakdowns occurred with the passing of time: in August 1976 it had to be shut down for almost ten months, while in the spring of 2005 the clock stopped at 10:07 pm local time, probably due to a problem cause by the excessive hot weather: at that moment the temperatures in London had passed 31.0 °C. But since then, the Great Clock has become very well protected from severe climate changes and bad weather.
At present, the Big Ben National Park, with the Big Ben Clock Tower as the main structure, has become an important attraction in London, which the tourists visit in order to admire the major visual symbol of the United Kingdom.