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The clock tower of Big Ben, London.

The Clock Tower of Big Ben

The clock tower of Big Ben, part of the Houses of Parliament, London. The name "Big Ben" is not that of the tower but of the BELL. The sound can be heard all over the world because it's broadcast by the BBC World Service. It's a very old clock, and it's amazing how close to atomic accuracy the clock time is kept. Also see GMT - Greenwich Mean Time. Many chiming clocks produce the same traditional sequence of notes, which is known as "Westminster Chimes".

The sound of Big Ben on the hour is a distinctive sound. When the bell was installed, it was as big as possible, and the hammer for striking the hour was bigger than the recommended size for the bell. As a result, the bell became cracked, and produces a sound which is imperfect. This unusual sound is now a classic, and has quintessence and character.