The official countdown has begun! That is the countdown until I am reunited with my beloved husband and the girls reunited with their father. We have missed him dearly.
5 days, 3 hours, 47 minutes
The clock above is commonly known as Big Ben.
The Clock Tower is a turret clock structure at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament building in Westminster, London, England. It is popularly known as Big Ben, but this name is actually a nickname for the clock's main bell. The tower has also been referred to as St. Stephen's Tower or The Tower of Big Ben, in reference to its bell.
The tower was raised as a part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire on the night of October 16, 1834. The tower is designed in the Victorian Gothic style, and is 96.3 metres (316 feet) high.
The first 61 metres (250 feet) of the structure is the clock tower, consisting of brickwork with stone cladding; the remainder of the tower's height is a framed spire of cast iron. The tower is founded on a 15 by 15 metre (49 by 49 foot) raft, made of 3-metre (9-foot) thick concrete, at a depth of 7 metres (23 feet) below ground level. The four clock faces are 55 metres (180 feet) above ground. The interior volume of Big Ben is 4,650 cubic metres (15,255 cubic feet).
Due to ground conditions present since construction, the tower leans slightly to the north-west, by roughly 220 millimetres (8.66 inches). Due to thermal effects it oscillates annually by a few millimetres east and west .
The clock faces were once large enough to allow the Clock Tower to be the largest four-faced clock in the world, but have since been outdone by the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The builders of the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower did not add chimes to the clock, so the Great Clock of Westminster still holds the title of the "world's largest four-faced chiming clock." The clock mechanism itself was completed by 1854, but the tower was not fully constructed until four years later in 1858.
The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. The clock faces are set in an iron framework 21 feet (7 metres) in diameter, supporting 576 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained glass window. Some of the glass pieces may be removed for inspection of the hands. The surround of the dials is heavily gilded. At the base of each clock face in gilt letters is the Latin inscription 'DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM' meaning 'O Lord, keep safe our queen Victoria the First'.
The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. The bell is better known by the nickname Big Ben.
The name Big Ben was first given to a 14.5 tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 10 April 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by Warner's of Cripplegate. The bell was never officially named, but the legend on it records that the commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall, was responsible for the order; another theory is that the bell may have been named after heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt who was popular at the time. There's also a story that the bell was to be called "Victoria" in honour of Queen Victoria, but the ceremonial speeches went on so long that some joker shouted out "Oh just call it Big Ben and have done with it!" and the name stuck.
Since the tower was not yet finished, the bell was mounted in New Palace Yard but the bell cracked under the striking hammer, and its metal was recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as the 13.76 tonne (13.54 ton (long), 15.17 ton (short) bell and standing at (2.2 metres high with a diameter of 2.9 metres) which is in use today. The new bell, which chimes on E, was mounted in the tower in 1852 alongside four quarter-hour bells, the ring of bells that ring the familiar changes.
posted by Mrs. Klause