London History Day - 31st May 2017

Written by Foxley 31/05/2017 0 Comment(s) British Heritage, All Categories,

. Image courtesy of Visit London

The 31st May 2017 marks the 158th anniversary of the first time Big Ben sung its quintessentially British voice across London, but here’s some facts you may not have known…

•  Located in the City of Westminster, “Big Ben”, as it’s affectionately referred to, is actually named Elizabeth Tower.

•  Big Ben stands at 96 metres tall – that’s just short of 315 feet – 314.961 feet, to be exact.

•  Big Ben features 11 floors – for those after a serious leg workout, there are an exhausting 334 steps to the British landmark’s belfry, before ascending a further 65 steps to reach the Ayrton Light at Big Ben’s summit.


•  Building materials were sourced in preparation from Yorkshire, Normandy and Rutland in the East Midlands. However, Rutland only provided materials when Big Ben underwent restoration work between 1983 and 1985.

•  850 cubic metres of stone were utilised in the building of Big Ben, while 2600 cubic metres of brick ascend towards the clouds, overlooking the London skyline.

•  Big Ben’s cast iron girders were sourced from Regent’s Canal Ironworks, while the building’s stone and granite were taken from Yorkshire and Cornwall respectively.


•  Big Ben’s iron roofing plates were sourced from a Birmingham foundry.

•  Big Ben was built from the inside out, to ensure no scaffolding was on show to the London public, and materials were transported by river before being lifted by winch to the masons and bricklayers creating the British landmark.

•  The foundations of Big Ben were planted on 28th September, 1843, which were dug 3 metres deep.

•  Big Ben was finished in 1859, having previously fallen five years behind schedule – this delay meant that unfortunately and unlike most British landmarks, no official opening ceremony introduced London to Big Ben.


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