The Best Articles We Ever Wrote About Big Ben

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 81 months ago

Last Updated 04 September 2017

The Best Articles We Ever Wrote About Big Ben

We've written a lot of stuff about Big Ben in our time. Here's the best of it.

What's Big Ben's real name?

We like to call Big Ben 'the tower with five names'. Some of these name — like St Stephen's Tower — sound correct, but are totally false. But is there more than one correct answer? Find out the real answer(s) here.

Why is Big Ben on every bottle of HP Sauce?

After all, everyone's favourite brown-hued condiment was invented by a man from Nottingham, and long produced in Birmingham. We investigate in this article, which includes some rather superb — and bizarre — vintage ads.

How do they clean Big Ben?

Like this:

Photo: Naf Selmani

So there you go.

So if there's a Big Ben, is there a Little Ben too?

Yes indeed. It's just down the road in Victoria. Have you ever, er, clocked it?

Is it true you can hear Big Ben chime on the radio before you can hear it standing next to the actual Big Ben?

Well, why don't you watch this and find out:

What's the best Big Ben April Fool's prank?

Pimm's shook up London with a marketing-prank mixer, when they claimed in on 1 April 2016 that they'd become the official sponsor for Big Ben.

That's nothing on a BBC prank in 1980, when a BBC radio show claimed Big Ben was going digital, and that the first four people to call the station would get the hands. London, apparently, was not amused.

And THAT'S nothing compared to a 1926 radio prank, in which the broadcaster claimed Big Ben had fallen to the ground. Hilarious.

Did you know Big Ben was once used as a giant 'stinkpipe'?

A 'stinkpipe' by the way, was a Victorian invention designed to vent gas from the sewers, above delicate Victorian noses. Parliament's problems with poo are well documented — but did you know that at one point, the conditions became so fetid, sewer gases were passed through Big Ben, up into the atmosphere?  

What's the most ludicrous movie Big Ben has ever appeared in?

Plenty of contenders, we're sure, but Sharknado 5: Global Swarming is surely the biggest culprit...

Has Big Ben ever been silenced?

Photo: Wendy Dobing

Many a time. As documented in this article here, written before summer 2017, when Big Ben was essentially silenced for four years. Stuart Fowkes from Cities and Memory digitally manipulated and elongated the bongs into this:

Tell me more interesting stuff about Big Ben

Oh go on then. Here are 12 more things you might not know... apart from the ones we've already mentioned above.