The echoing clang of the immense bells is one of London’s most iconic sounds. For half a century, the people of the capital have set their watches by the hourly ringing of the world’s most famous clock tower and it remains a classic location. There was once a time, over a century ago, when its noise was essential for the denizens of the capital, helping them to keep track of time and structure their day. The ringing of the bells was something everyone listened for keenly, and it was perhaps the most integral structure to the capital’s continued running.
These days, it’s purpose is mainly decorative. The age of digital has ensured that we always know the time, whether it’s through watches, phones, pcs or any other electronic device. We don’t need hourly reminders, and the sounds of traffic and revelry have limited the range of the hourly toll. These days, it’s rarely heard outside of Westminster, and few care when they do hear its faint noise in the background.
Thankfully, we couldn’t have asked for a better piece of stunning architecture, and it fulfils its new role perfectly. Towering above the skyline in posters and images of the city, it’s relatively modest in reality. Resting just above the buildings it surrounds, this elegant and imposing piece of art is a relic of a civilisation that once ruled the waves. Equally imposing and understated, it’s a perfect testament to the duality of the British empire.
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