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The Clock Tower is a turret clock structure at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament building in Westminster, London. It is popularly known as Big Ben, but this name actually belongs to the clock's main bell. The tower has also been referred to as St. Stephen's Tower or The Tower of Big Ben, in reference to its bell.
The tower was raised as a part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire on the night of October 16, 1834. The tower is designed in the Victorian Gothic style, and is 96.3 metres (316 feet) high.
The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. The clock faces are set in an iron framework 21 feet (7 metres) in diameter, supporting 576 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained glass window. Some of the glass pieces may be removed for inspection of the hands. The surround of the dials is heavily gilded.
The main bell, officially known as Big Ben, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster.
The name Big Ben was first given to a 14.5 tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 10 April 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by Warner's of Cripplegate. The bell was never officially named, but the legend on it records that the commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall, was responsible for the order; another theory is that the bell may have been named after heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt who was popular at the time. There's also a story that the bell was to be called "Victoria" in honour of Queen Victoria, but the ceremonial speeches went on so long that some joker shouted out "Oh just call it Big Ben and have done with it!" and the name stuck.

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Additional Photos by Janos Koncz (konok) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 213 W: 0 N: 125] (2068)
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