Big Ben Timeline

1840
Construction begins on new Palace of Westminster in Gothic Revival style
1843
Construction on the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament (better known as Big Ben) begins in London.
1846
A competition is held to choose a designer for the clock, with strict requirements for accuracy. The Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airy, is the referee of the competition.
1852
In the same year the Palace of Westminster is opened by Queen Victoria, John Dent is appointed to build the clock to the designs of Edmund Beckett Denison.
1854
Completion of the clock in the Clock Tower (Big Ben).
1856
The first bell for the Clock Tower, named "Royal Victoria," is cast at Warners of Norton near Stockton-on-Tees.
1857
The first "Big Ben" bell cracks during testing and is condemned. Warners, the bell's manufacturer, and Edmund Beckett Denison, the designer of the Great Clock, clash over who is responsible.
1858
The current "Big Ben" bell is cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in east London and transported to New Palace Yard on a carriage drawn by 16 white horses.
1932
Big Ben's chimes broadcasted internationally for the first time
1939
Big Ben Goes Dark
1940
The Silent Minute
10 Aug 1976
A mechanical failure leads the pendulum weights of the Great Clock to fall down the shaft of the Clock Tower in the middle of the night. The clock mechanism explodes. Big Ben is silenced for nearly nine months while the clock is repaired.
2009
Big Ben in London celebrates its 150th anniversary with a year of festivities and special events.