London is home to many landmarks, from Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Westminster Abbey and many more, the capital has it all.

But, there's one very popular and very famous landmark that often gets confused, Big Ben, or is it the Elizabeth Tower?

While many refer to Parliament's clocktower as Big Ben, many are unaware that, it has another name, five.

So the next time the topic of Big Ben comes up, we've broken down the history of the famous clocktower so you can make sure you have your facts right.

A Brief History of Big Ben

From 1290 to 1834 the clock tower that stood had several variations of what we now call Big Ben.

It's believed the clock tower was first built in 1290, before being replaced by a new tower in 1367 which was later pulled down for a sundial in 1698.

Ilford Recorder: Do you know the 5 names of Big Ben?Do you know the 5 names of Big Ben? (Image: Getty)

In 1834, when the Palace of Westminster was completely destroyed by a fire, Architect Charles Barry was brought in to replace the Palace and the clock tower.

In 1843, construction on the new Clock Tower began with Edmund Beckett Denison designing the clock and John Dent head of the building.

By 1854, the clock was completed and in 1856, the 'Big Ben' bell was first cast at Warners of Norton near Stockton-on-Tees.

The bell was originally set to be called 'Royal Victora' before it became the famous 'Big Ben'.

The original bell was later replaced after a crack developed in 1858 and a year later in 1859, the Great Clock began ticking and the bell was rung for the first time on 11 July.

Over time small adjustments were made to allow the bell to ring once an hour and in 1932, the BBC broadcasted the chimes for the first time on New Year's Eve.

Throughout the years, Big Ben rang in many special occasions including Queen Elizabeth's II Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Ilford Recorder: Big Ben is just the name of the bell.Big Ben is just the name of the bell. (Image: Getty)

In 2012, the clock tower was renamed the 'Elizabeth Tower' in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

2017 saw the most extensive conservation into the Elizabeth Tower and by 2022, the project was complete and began to run to its regular service.

What are the five names of Big Ben?

Whether you'll always call it Big Ben or the Elizabeth Tower, the landmark has five names.

Big Ben: Although used to refer to the whole tower, Big Ben is the name of the largest of five Bells within the tower.

The Elizabeth Tower: The newest of names given, the Elizabeth Tower was in honour of Queen Elizabeth's II Diamond Jubilee and is used for the clock tower.


St Stephen's Tower: Some call Big Ben, St Stephen's Tower, but they would be wrong. St Stephen's Tower is the name of another smaller tower near the public entrance.

The Clock Tower: Before it was Big Ben or the Elizabeth Tower, it was simply known as the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster.

The East Tower: While the clock tower was becoming the Elizabeth Tower, some referred to the landmark as the East Tower. However, this is technically wrong as it lies in the north of the area, not the east.