The clock in the north wing of the Palace of Westminster in London, UK, is known as “Big Ben” (a reference to the Great Bell in the tower above it), and people frequently apply the nickname to both the clock and the tower itself. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located is known as the Clock Tower, and in 2012, the name was changed to Elizabeth Tower to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2017.
This Neo-Gothic style building was designed by Augustus Pugin, who employed architectural influences such as the gothic. As the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world was completed in 1859, this was the largest and most accurate striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands at a height of 316 feet (96 m), and it consists of 334 steps from ground level to the belfry. It is square with a base measuring 40 feet (12 m) on each side. The dials on the clock are 6.9 meters (22.5 feet) in diameter.
Shields showing the symbols of all four nations of the UK, each with a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland, a shamrock for Northern Ireland, and a leek for Wales, are displayed on the tower. Tens of thousands of people were on hand to celebrate the tower’s 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009.
In popular culture, the clock has become a popular symbol of the United Kingdom, and especially in the visual media. A common method of indicating a country location for a television or film producer is to have a black cab in the foreground of a scene as well as a red double-decker bus, as used in the opening credits of the hit British television show “Downton Abbey.”
Today, Big Ben is one of the most recognizable landmark of both London and United Kingdom.