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Big Ben celebrates 150th year

Published: Tuesday 2nd of June 2009

One of London's most popular attractions has celebrated its 150th anniversary over the weekend.

Big Ben, which started ticking on May 31st 1859, is traditionally the name for the largest bell, although it is now used to describe the tower as a whole.

The bell first tolled on July 11th 1859 and the clock mechanism is only ever interrupted for maintenance, bad weather and bird strikes.

Mike McCann, the keeper of the great clock, commented: "It's a typical piece of Victorian engineering.

"A lot of people seem to think that it's some sort of electronic clock but it's entirely clockwork, driven by weights which need winding."

People heading to the city to catch a glimpse of Big Ben may also want to see a number of its other top attractions.

With the London Pass, entry to the likes of Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace is free of charge.

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