May 31, 2009

Big Ben gets spring cleaning

Big Ben, arguably the world's most famous clock, is being spruced up after 150 years of marking time for the people of London, its keeper says.

It's a typical piece of Victorian engineering, Mike McCann, who is in charge of making sure the Parliament Square time piece, is in kept in good shape, told the BBC. It will last for hundreds of years. Mainly we wind it three times a week.

McCann said a lot of people think Bi Ben is electronic, but it is all clockwork, driven by weights -- and it needs winding.

So the main maintenance work really is winding it three times a week, oiling it and keeping it accurate, he said.

Technically, Big Ben really is just the clock's largest bell, but the name has come to be used for the prominent clock tower itself, the British network said Sunday. The bell was cast in April 1858 and was first rung in the clock tower May 31, 1859.