Europe

Ringing the changes: Renaming 'Big Ben'

Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT) March 23, 2012
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British lawmakers want to rename St Stephen's Tower -- known to tourists around the world as "Big Ben" -- after Queen Elizabeth II. AFP/Getty Images
The Queen, seen here addressing both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall, is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Getty Images
MP Tobias Ellwood says naming the tower, seen here in the background of the coronation parade, after the monarch would be a fitting way to mark her 60th year on the throne. AFP/Getty Images
"Big Ben" is one of London's most famous landmarks. The four glass clock faces on the tower, each measuring seven meters in diameter, are cleaned by a team of experts once every five years. AFP/Getty Images
Big Ben is actually the name of the 13.5 ton bell inside the tower. The clock came into operation on 31st May 1859; Big Ben rang out for the first time later that year. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ellwood said that if the renaming plans were given the go-ahead, he hoped the Queen would not have to climb the 334 steps to the belfry for an official ceremony. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
It remains to be seen whether the new name, Elizabeth Tower, will be widely used, or if the public will stick with the old nickname. Jokers have suggested meeting half way, with the new nickname 'Big Beth'. Getty Images