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People Are Just Discovering Big Ben Isn't Actually Called Big Ben

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People Are Just Discovering Big Ben Isn't Actually Called Big Ben

It turns out that one of the most famous landmarks in London has been going by the wrong name for years now and we had no idea!

People are just now learning that the iconic Big Ben clock tower isn't actually called Big Ben at all - it's just a nickname!

The tower, which has stood tall in Westminster since the 1850s, is actually called the Elizabeth Tower. Who knew?

Big Ben isn't actually called Big Ben! (Credit: Pexels)
Big Ben isn't actually called Big Ben! (Credit: Pexels)
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Previously known as "The Clock Tower" or "St Stephen's Tower", it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee back in 2012.

We wonder if any more monuments will be named after her for this years' platinum jubilee!

Discussing the revelation on Reddit, some people were furious, insisting that they would not be using Big Ben's official name.

"I refuse to call the tower the 'Elizabeth Tower', far too sycophantic, and will forever refer to it as the 'St. Stephen's Tower,'" insisted one Redditor.

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Another wrote: "Honestly I hate this piece of trivia. Officially nothing is named "Big Ben", that is entirely a nickname and up to the people for what we want it to refer to. If we use it to mean the clock, or the tower, or the bell, by metonymy that's all our choice."

The tower is called the Elizabeth Tower. (Credit: Unsplash)
The tower is called the Elizabeth Tower. (Credit: Unsplash)

Now, some smug friends might have told you in the past that the name "Big Ben" refers to the bell inside the tower, rather than the clock or the tower itself, but that's not necessarily true, either!

The main bell inside the Elizabeth Tower is actually called The Great Bell.

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To summarise, "Big Ben" is a nickname for The Great Bell inside the Elizabeth Tower - got it? Great.

So, where did the nickname Big Ben come from? There's actually no definite answer.

Some people believe that the name was inspired by 19th century bare-knuckle boxing champion Ben Caunt, who was widely known as "Big Ben."

Big Ben was supposedly nicknamed after Sir Benjamin Hall. (Credit: Pexels)
Big Ben was supposedly nicknamed after Sir Benjamin Hall. (Credit: Pexels)
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But a more likely theory is that the name came from Sir Benjamin Hall, a Welsh civil engineer and politician.

Sir Hall became the commissioner for works in 1855, and would have been in office at the time that the clock tower was erected. His name is even inscribed in the bell itself.

Class dismissed.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/Disney

Topics: News

Ali Condon
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