Big Ben 1859-2009

Big Ben

The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell.

The Clock Tower was completed in 1859 and the Great Clock started on 31 May, with the Great Bell’s strikes heard for the first time on 11 July and the quarter bells first chimed on 7 September.

Building the Clock Tower

Building the Clock Tower
Find out how and why the Clock Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell were built, from the foundations to the top of the tower

Inside the Clock Tower

Inside the Clock Tower
Want to know what goes on behind the scenes? Take an online tour and find out how the Great Clock keeps going.

Facts and figures

Facts and figures
How high? How heavy? How accurate? Everything you ever wanted to know about Big Ben

From the Parliamentary collections

From the Parliamentary collections
Explore the Parliamentary collections for rare images and unique objects charting Big Ben’s history

Key dates

Key dates

Find out about the history of the Clock Tower; from the first medieval clock tower built in the old Palace of Westminster to the design and construction of the present Clock Tower and its 150th anniversary in 2009

Big Ben downloads and e-cards

Big Ben downloads and e-cards
Send an e-card and download Big Ben ringtones, banners and wallpapers

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions
Find the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the Clock Tower

Big Ben e-cards

Send a personalised greeting to friends and family with a Big Ben e-card.

Related information

Big Ben on Flickr

View Big Ben and other images from Parliament on our Flickr photostream

Big Ben on YouTube

View Big Ben, and other Parliament video clips, on Parliament's YouTube channel

Also within Living Heritage

Find out about the architecture and interiors of the Houses of Parliament