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The quarter bells play a once-repeating, note sequence of rounds and four changes in the key of E major : 1—4 at quarter past, 5—12 at half past, 13—20 and 1—4 at quarter to, and 5—20 on the hour which sounds 25 seconds before the main bell tolls the hour.
Because the low bell B is struck twice in quick succession, there is not enough time to pull a hammer back, and it is supplied with two wrench hammers on opposite sides of the bell.
The tune is that of the Cambridge Chimes , first used for the chimes of Great St Mary 's church, Cambridge , and supposedly a variation , attributed to William Crotch , based on violin phrases from the air " I know that my Redeemer liveth " in Handel 's Messiah.
They are written on a plaque on the wall of the clock room. One of the requirements for the clock was that the first stroke of the hour bell should be correct to within one second per day.
The time signalled by the last of the "six pips" UTC may be fractionally different. The origin of the nickname Big Ben is the subject of some debate.
The nickname was applied first to the Great Bell; it may have been named after Sir Benjamin Hall , who oversaw the installation of the Great Bell, or after English heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt.
In August , satirical news site The Rochdale Herald published a spoof article stating that the bell was to be renamed "Massive Mohammed".
Many people mistook this for a genuine news story and were widely ridiculed on social media. The clock has become a cultural symbol of the United Kingdom , particularly in the visual media.
When a television or film-maker wishes to indicate a generic location in the country, a popular way to do so is to show an image of the tower, often with a red double-decker bus or black cab in the foreground.
In , a survey of 2, people found that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom. The sound of the clock chiming has also been used this way in audio media, but as the Westminster Quarters are heard from other clocks and other devices, the sound is by no means unique.
Big Ben is a focal point of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom , with radio and television stations airing its chimes to welcome the start of the New Year.
To welcome in , the clock tower was lit with fireworks that exploded at every toll of Big Ben.
Londoners who live an appropriate distance from the tower and Big Ben can, by means of listening to the chimes both live and on analogue radio, hear the bell strike thirteen times.
This is possible because the electronically transmitted chimes arrive virtually instantaneously, while the "live" sound is delayed travelling through the air since the speed of sound is relatively slow.
ITN 's News at Ten opening sequence formerly featured an image of the tower with the sound of Big Ben's chimes punctuating the announcement of the news headlines of the day.
The sound of the chimes is sent live from a microphone permanently installed in the tower and connected by line to Broadcasting House.
At the close of the polls for the general election the results of the national exit poll were projected onto the south side of the tower.
On 21 August , Big Ben's chimes were silenced for four years to allow essential restoration work to be carried out on the tower.
The decision to silence the bells was made to protect the hearing of the workers on the tower, and drew much criticism from senior MPs and the then Prime Minister Theresa May.
Scaffolding was put up around the tower immediately after the bells were silenced. Other costly discoveries included asbestos in the belfry, the "extensive" use of lead paint, broken glass on the clock dials, and serious deterioration to the tower's intricate stone carvings due to air pollution.
The aim of the renovation is to repair and conserve the tower, upgrading facilities as necessary, and ensuring the tower's integrity for future generations.
The last significant renovation work to the tower was carried out in — The 2, cast-iron roof tiles will be removed and replaced, and a lift will be installed to make access easier, along with a basic washroom with running water.
The Ayrton Light at the top of the tower, which is lit when Parliament is sitting, will also be fully dismantled and restored with the other lights in the Belfry, the lights being replaced with low energy LEDs.
The clock faces are also to be regilded, and the shields of St George are to be repainted in their original red and white colours.
The 1, pieces of glass that make up the clock faces are also to be removed and replaced. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 8 December Bell within the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster in London, England.
For other uses, see Big Ben disambiguation. Play media. Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Retrieved 10 April The Concise Oxford dictionary of current English.
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