Big Ben Facts for Kids – Complete Facts About Big Ben

Big Ben is the famous clock tower of London and one of the most visited tourists spot in England. We have gathered a complete set of Big Ben Facts for Kids that will give a complete overview of this amazing clock tower to the kids. We have tried to answer all questions that may arise in the curious little minds about this tower.

Big Ben Facts for Kids

1. What is Big Ben

  • Big Ben is the name given to the Great Bell of the Clock in the Elizabeth tower that is situated in Westminiter, London.
  • The official name of Big Ben (Bell) is the Great Bell.
  • Technically, Big Ben is the name of the Great Bell inside the Elizabeth Tower. However, both the tower and the clock are normally called as the Big Ben.
  • Its construction was completed in 1859.
  • Before 2012, the tower was simply called Clock Tower.
  • In 2012, the official name of the tower was changed to Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Elizabeth II.

big ben facts for kids

2. Why is Big Ben called Big Ben – Who is Big Ben named after

  • The origin of the name “Big Ben” is unknown. Londoners called it “Big Ben” and the name stuck. However, there are two personalities after which the Great Bell might have been named:
    • Sir Benjamin Hall – First Commissioner of Works, he oversaw the installation of the                                  Great Bell
    • Benjamin Caunt – Heavyweight Boxing Champion, also known as “Big Ben”.

3. Big Ben Real Name

  • Technically, Big Ben is the name of the Great Bell inside the Elizabeth Tower.
  • Normally, Elizabeth Tower and the Great Bell are collectively referred to as Big Ben.
  • The real and official name of Big Ben (tower) is Elizabeth Tower.
  • The real and official name of Big Ben (bell in Elizabeth Tower) is the Great Bell.

4. Why is Big Ben Famous

  • Big Ben is a tower clock in London, which is famous for its accuracy and a huge bell.
  • There is a theory that it became famous during the Second World War.
  • Its chimes were aired by the BBC World Service radio all around the world.
  • After the attacks, people waited for its chimes on the radio.
  • These chimes meant that the Great Britain had not been defeated.

5. Importance of Big Ben

  • Big Ben is a very important landmark of London.
  • It attracts a lot of tourists all around the year.
  • It is also an excellent time-keeper.

6. Where is Big Ben located

  • Big Ben is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.
  • Its address is:
    Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

7. Big Ben Description

The Great Bell

  • The Great Bell weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).
  • It is 2.28 meters tall and 2.75 meters wide.
  • It is so loud, you can feel the vibrations in your whole body if you stand in the belfry.
  • It is made of tin and copper.
  • Its color is grey, with some green marks on it.

big ben the great bell

The Clock

  • The official name of the clock is the Great Westminster Clock.
  • There are three “trains of gears” in the clock:
    • The Going Train – Rotates the hands
    • The Chiming Train – Makes the quarter bells chime (every quarter)
    • The Striking Train – Makes the Big Ben chime (every hour)
  • Its functioning depends upon gravity. There are weights attached to cables. Engineers wind these cables thrice a week. The trains rotate as the weights are pulled down by gravity.
  • The lengths and weights of the hands on the clock are:
    • Each Hour Hand – 2.7 meters – 300 kg
    • Each Minute Hand – 4.2 meters – 100 kg
  • Every number on the dial is 2 feet tall.
  • The weight of the clock mechanism is 5 tons.
  • The Clock is wound three times a week to make sure it works correctly.
  • There are 4 clock faces on all the four sides of Elizabeth Tower.

big ben clock

Elizabeth Tower (The Clock Tower)

  • The design of the Elizabeth Tower is called Gothic Revival style.
  • It is 315 feet (96 meters) high.
  • The four clock dials are 180 feet (54.9 meters) above ground level.
  • There are 334 limestone steps which climb to the top of the Elizabeth Tower.
  • The Clock Tower leans slightly towards the north-west.
  • There are some words written below every clock on the tower:
    “DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM”
    Which means ‘O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First’.

8. How big is Big Ben – Big Ben dimensions

  • The Big Ben occupies a land of 40 square feet (3.7 square meters).
  • It is 315 feet (96 meters) high.
  • The inner volume of Big Ben is 164,200 cubic feet (4,650 cubic meters).
  • The clock faces are 54.9 meters above ground level.
  • The clock faces on all four side of the tower are 23 feet (7 meters) in diameter.

9. How tall is Big Ben – Height of Big Ben

  • The Big Ben is 315 feet (96 meters) high.

10. Big Ben clock face size

  • The clock faces on all four side of the tower are 23 feet (7 meters) in diameter.

11. How much does Big Ben weigh – Big Ben Weight

  • Technically, Big Ben is the name of the Great Bell inside the Elizabeth Tower.
  • It weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).

12. Is Big Ben the biggest clock in the World

  • No, Big Ben is not the biggest clock in the world.
  • The biggest clock in the world is the Mecca Clock.

13. What color is Big Ben

  • Big Ben (The Great Bell) is grey-ish with some green marks on its surface.

14. How old is Big Ben – Big Ben age

  • The Great Bell was cast in 1858, so it is 159 years old.
  • Elizabeth Tower was opened in 1859, so it is 158 years old.

15. When was Big Ben built

  • The construction of Big Ben finished and it was opened in 1859.

16. How long did it take to build Big Ben

  • It took 34 years to build Big Ben.

17. Why was Big Ben built – Big Ben purpose

  • The Palace of Westminster was ruined by accidental fire in 1834.
  • In 1835, it was decided that a tower and a clock should be included in the buildings built for the Houses of Parliament.

18. Who made Big Ben – Who designed Big Ben

  • Augustus Pugin
    Augustus Pugin

    There were two English architects who were responsible for building Big Ben and reviving the Castle of Westminster:

    • Augustus Pugin
    • Charles Barry
  • It was made as a part of the new Gothic Style design for the Palace of Westminster.
 Charles Barry
Charles Barry

19. What is Big Ben made of

  • The bottom 61 meters of Big Ben is made of bricks covered with limestone.
  • Above 61 meters, Big Ben is framed spire of cast iron.
  • The foundations of Big Ben are made of:
    • 15.2 meters square raft
    • The raft is made of 3 meters thick concrete
    • It is 4 meters below ground level

20. Big Ben History

  • The Castle of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834.
  • In 1835, it was decided that a tower with a clock will be built as a part of revival of the Castle of Westminster.
  • The tower was designed in Gothic Style by Augustus Pugin and Charles Barry.
  • The construction of Big Ben was started in 1843.
  • Edward John Dent was hired to design the clock. He died soon and his son took over the project.
  • The first bell cast for the clock developed a crack, so a second bell was cast for the clock.
  • The construction of Big Ben was finished in 1859.
  • The clock started keeping time in May 1859 and the Great Bell chimed for the first time on July 11, 1859.
  • During the World War II, the clock faces on Big Ben were unlit to avoid attracting or guiding enemy planes.
  • The clock was repaired for 9 months in 1876 and 7 weeks in 2007.
  • The Clock Tower (Big Ben) was renamed to Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to honor Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.
  • On 14 August, 2014, it was announced that the Clock will fall silent for repairs from August 21, 2017 till 2021. An estimate of more than $42 million has been made for the costs of the repairs.

21. How does Big Ben work

  • The Great Clock on Elizabeth Tower uses the principle of Gravity to work.
  • There are three “trains of gears” in the clock:
    • The Going Train – Rotates the hands
    • The Chiming Train – Makes the quarter bells chime (every quarter)
    • The Striking Train – Makes the Big Ben chime (every hour)
  • There are weights attached to cables. Engineers wind these cables thrice a week. The trains rotate as the weights are pulled down by gravity.
  • The Clock is wound three times a week by engineers to make sure it works correctly.

22. How is Big Ben powered

  • The mechanism of the Great Clock is wound by hand, which powers the clock.

23. Big Ben Sound – Big Ben Chimes

  • The bells in Big Ben and their chiming times are:
    • Four Quarter Bells – Every quarter hour (Different designs for different tunes)
    • The Great Bell – Every hour on hour
  • The tune played by these bells is called Westminster Quarters.

24. When did Big Ben First Chime

  • The Big Ben first chimed on July 11, 1859.

25. Big Ben Repair – Big Ben Renovation

  • On 14 August 2017, it was announced that Big Ben will be silenced from 21 August, 2017 for repairs and renovation.
  • It will remain silent till 2021.
  • During this renovation, a lift will be installed which will take visitors to the top of Big Ben.
  • The repairs are estimated to cost more than $42 million.

26. How much is Big Ben Worth

  • It will cost around $200,000 to build Big Ben today.

27. Big Ben Tour

  • Big Ben can be visited after contacting a member of the House of Lords to request a visit.
  • However, it can only be visited by those who fit a certain strict criteria:
    • Visitor must be a UK resident.
    • Visitor must be older than 11 years.
    • Visitor must be fit enough to climb the 334 steps to the top without any assistance.
    • Heart patients and pregnant ladies are not allowed to enter Big Ben.
    • Visitor must wear sensible footwear.

28. How many tourists visit Big Ben each year

  • Accurate information regarding the number of annual Big Ben visitors is unavailable.
  • However, a rough estimate suggests that about 75,000 residents of the UK annually visit Big Ben.

big ben facts for kids

29. Can you go inside Big Ben

  • Yes, you can go inside Big Ben ONLY if you are a Resident of the UK and fall under a certain strict criteria.

‌‌‌‌30. Big Ben Fun Facts

  • Only UK residents are allowed to visit Big Ben.
  • The four clock faces on Big Ben are 55 meters above ground.
  • The Great Bell weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).
  • The pendulum inside the clock:
    1. is 3.9 meters long
    2. weighs 300 kg
    3. beats every 2 seconds
  • Big Ben is the center of focus of New Year celebrations in UK. Radio and TV stations tune to its chimes to welcome the new year.

31. Big Ben Facts for Kids Video

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