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The History of Big Ben

Discover the fascinating history of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament with our preschool nursery children at Hatching Dragons Westminster. From its construction to its iconic status, delve into the story behind one of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom. It's all part of our historic cultural programme at the kindergarten, in which we bring new meaning to the educational objective "cultural capital". One of the 7 areas of learning set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage is Understanding the World - and we mean to ensure that our children see as much of it as they can. So from historic buildings and monuments such as these, we can talk about the ideas behind democracy, about the power of talking to one another, and how differences can always be overcome with debate....

The Origins of Big Ben

Big Ben, the famous clock tower located in the Palace of Westminster, has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Originally, it was known simply as the Clock Tower and was designed by architect Augustus Pugin. However, it was later renamed Big Ben after the Great Bell housed within the tower. The construction of Big Ben began in 1843 and was completed in 1859. It stands at an impressive height of 96 meters and has become an iconic symbol of London and the United Kingdom as a whole.

The Construction of Big Ben

The construction of Big Ben was a monumental task that required the expertise of skilled craftsmen and engineers. The tower was built using a combination of brick and stone, with the famous clock faces made of opal glass and illuminated by electric lights. The Great Bell, weighing over 13 tons, was manufactured by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and had to be transported to the site using a special carriage. The construction process faced numerous challenges, including delays caused by the buildup of scaffolding and the intricate installation of the clock mechanism. Despite these obstacles, Big Ben was successfully completed and has stood tall for over a century.

The Iconic Status of Big Ben

Big Ben has achieved iconic status not only within the United Kingdom but also worldwide. Its distinctive silhouette and melodic chimes have become synonymous with London. The clock tower has been featured in numerous films, books, and artworks, further cementing its place in popular culture. Its timeless beauty and historic significance attract millions of visitors each year, who come to marvel at its grandeur and learn about its fascinating history.

The Importance of the Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, play a crucial role in the governance of the United Kingdom. It is the meeting place of the two houses of the UK Parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The historic building has witnessed significant events and debates that have shaped the nation's history. It is here that laws are debated, decisions are made, and democracy is upheld. The Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben as its iconic centerpiece, stand as a symbol of the UK's rich political heritage and democratic values.

Big Ben and Pop Culture

Big Ben's influence extends beyond its architectural significance. It has become a popular subject in art, literature, and popular culture. From movies and television shows to music and literature, Big Ben is often used as a visual representation of London and the UK. Its distinctive appearance and association with time have made it a symbol of punctuality and precision. Whether it's a backdrop for a romantic scene in a film or a key element in a suspenseful storyline, Big Ben continues to capture the imagination of people around the world.