Big Ben is the emblematic tower of London.
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.
The Great Bell
Officially, the Clock Tower's bell is called the Great Bell though it is better known by the name 'Big Ben'.
There are two theories for this name's origin. These are that the Great Bell was:
- named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works 1855-1858
- named after Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight boxer of the 1850s
The first theory is thought to be the most likely.
The name Big Ben is often associated with the Clock Tower and the Great Clock as well as the Great Bell. It was to the Great Bell that the name originally was given.