Big Ben Now Tolls From ‘Elizabeth Tower’

   on September 13 2012 2:45 AM

The iconic clock tower that houses the great bell, the Big Ben, was officially renamed Elizabeth Tower on Wednesday to honor the 60 years that Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne.

The renaming ceremony was held at the foot of the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, where House of Commons Speaker John Bercow unveiled a new name plaque holding the name Elizabeth Tower, formalizing the name change.   

The tower, one of the best-recognized landmarks in London, was known as Clock Tower initially, and people gradually started calling it Big Ben after the great bell it houses.

Speaking at the naming ceremony, Bercow said that it was a "special and heart-warming" occasion.

"Everyone here present will speedily recall that Her Majesty the Queen has visited Parliament on no fewer than three occasions in this, a very special year, and it is a mark and symbol of the enormous affection and esteem in which Her Majesty is held by people of all political persuasions," he said, according to a PA report.

The name change was announced in June after the majority of lawmakers favored a campaign launched by Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, seeking the name change as a tribute to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.

The 96-meter-high neo-Gothic tower, completed in 1858, houses a four-faced clock and the 13.5 ton Big Ben bell. It is a major tourist attraction in Great Britain.

Media reports had suggested that tourists and many of the English public were not very happy with the name change.

"There's not one chance in 10,000 that visitors, that people in this country will think of this tower as anything but Big Ben," Labour Party lawmaker Paul Flynn said, according to an AP report.

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