Cleaning Big Ben in London

Big Ben is one of the best known landmarks in London. The famous tower and clock are part of the Palace of Westminster, and the name Big Ben actually refers to the enormous bell, not the tower or the clock.

The tower was built in 1858 has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom. You can often see it on posters, advertisements and in films.

This week a team of specialist cleaners have been carefully working on the clock face, which needs to be cleaned regularly. The cleaners work 90 m above the ground and use safety ropes and harnesses to enable them to safely abseil down to the gigantic clock.

Nobody is really sure about the origin of the name Big Ben but without doubt it is a favourite attraction for tourists from all over the world.


a landmark                  a recognizable feature such a building or a hill

prominent                   clearly visible

gigantic                       very big

to abseil                      to descend using a rope