Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames between
Westminster and Lambeth, in London. The current bridge, opened in
1862, is the second on the site and replaced an earlier stone bridge
that had opened in 1750, but which was subsiding badly and expensive
to maintain. Westminster Bridge is a seven-arch wrought iron bridge,
which has gothic detailing by Charles Barry (the architect of
the Palace of Westminster). It is the only bridge over the Thames that
spans seven arches and is the oldest bridge in the central area of
the river Thames.
The bridge is predominantly green, the same colour as the leather seats
in the House of Commons which is on the side of the Palace of Westminster
nearest the bridge. This is in contrast to Lambeth Bridge, which is
red, the same colour as the seats in the House of Lords and is on the
opposite side of the Houses of Parliament. It links the Palace of Westminster
on the west side of the river with County Hall and the London Eye on
the east and was the finishing point during the early years of the
The Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster is the world's
largest four-faced, chiming turret clock. It is often mistakenly called "Big
is actually the main bell housed within the Clock Tower.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.
The tower is designed in the Victorian Gothic style, and is 96.3 metres
(315.9 ft) high. The first 61 metres (200 ft) 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. Due to ground
conditions present since construction, the tower leans slightly to
the northwest, by roughly 220 millimetres (8.66 in) at the clock face.
Due to thermal effects it oscillates annually by a few millimetres
east and west.
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 became operational on 7th September
1859. Augustus Pugin designed the clock and dials. The clock faces
are set in an iron framework supporting 312 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", which means '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" which is often mistakenly
applied to the Clock Tower. The clock is famous for its reliability.
This is due to the skill of its designer, the lawyer and amateur horologist
Edmund Beckett Denison, later Lord Grimthorpe. Denison invented the
double three-legged gravity escapement. Despite heavy bombing the clock
ran accurately throughout the Blitz. On 29 October 2005, the mechanism
was stopped for approximately 33 hours; it was the lengthiest maintenance
shutdown in 22 years.
On August 11, 2007, "Big Ben" went silent and temporarily
also stopped keeping time for maintenance that is scheduled to last
approximately 1 month. The bearings that help sound the chime on each
hour will be replaced, for the first time since installation.