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Monday, January 2, 2012

BIG BEN - LONDON, ENGLAND

BIG BEN
LONDON, ENGLAND

I have always wanted to see Big Ben in person.  My first impression was that Big Ben is not that big.  That aside, it is a beautiful structure that now houses the Parliament.  This is the lively location where you see the British yelling at each other while in session.  Loved the architecture and beauty of this building.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London,[1] and is generally extended to refer to the clock or theclock tower as well.[2] It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.[3] It celebrated its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009,[4] during which celebratory events took place.[5][6] The tower was completed on 10 April 1858 and has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

The present Clock Tower — sometimes erroneously referred to as Big Ben or St Stephen's Tower — was raised as a part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was largely destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October 1834.[7][8] The new Parliament was built in a Neo-gothic style. Although Barry was the chief architect of the Palace, he turned to Augustus Pugin for the design of the Clock Tower, which resembles earlier Pugin designs, including one for Scarisbrick Hall. The design for the Clock Tower was Pugin's last design before his final descent into madness and death, and Pugin himself wrote, at the time of Barry's last visit to him to collect the drawings: "I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower & it is beautiful."[9] The tower is designed in Pugin's celebrated Gothic Revival style, and is 96.3 metres (316 ft) high (roughly 16 stories).[10]
The bottom 61 metres (200 ft) of the Clock Tower's structure consists of brickwork with sand coloured Anston limestone cladding. The remainder of the tower's height is a framed spire of cast iron. The tower is founded on a 15-metre (49 ft) square raft, made of 3-metre (9.8 ft) thick concrete, at a depth of 4 metres (13 ft) below ground level. The four clock dials are 55 metres (180 ft) above ground. The interior volume of the tower is 4,650 cubic metres (164,200 cubic feet).
Despite being one of the world's most famous tourist attractions, the interior of the tower is not open to overseas visitors, though United Kingdom residents are able to arrange tours (well in advance) through their Member of Parliament.[11] However, the tower has no lift, so those escorted must climb the 334 limestone stairs to the top.[10]
Because of changes in ground conditions since construction (notably tunnelling for the Jubilee Line extension), the tower leans slightly to the north-west, by roughly 220 millimetres (8.66 in) at the clock dials, giving an inclination of approximately 1/250.[12][13] Due to thermal effects it oscillates annually by a few millimetres east and west.
OUR FIRST VIEW OF BIG BEN FROM
ACROSS THE STREET
BIG BEN - LONDON ENGLAND
ONE HAPPY FAMILY IN LONDON
BEST VIEW IS FROM THE RIVER BRIDGE
THE LONDON EYE FERRIS WHEEL IS DIRECTLY ACROSS THE RIVER




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