Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I seem to have begun a type of continuing story on clocks recently.  I thought it was over, but a friend suggested I add a post about one of the most famous clocks in the world - Big Ben - and he sent me the link to it.  I used to regularly pass it by when I was working in London in the 60's and 70's.

There was an amusing line in a play I once saw where a visitor to the center of London placed a bet with the son of the house where he was staying.  He said: "I bet you ten shillings you can't see Big Ben from here!"  The boy went to the window and said: "There it is, you can see it plainly."

But he lost the bet as Big Ben is actually the largest bell inside the tower, and can't be seen of course.

One other odd fact is that the number four on the face is unique.  In all other clocks the number is the Roman numeral IIII, but in the case of "Big Ben" it's IV.

The BBC still uses the clock's chimes to announce itself, and the sound is one of the most well known around the world.  For those of you who need reminding this is what it sounds like - it's LOUD!

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