03/23/2012

Push is on to rename Big Ben tower after the Queen

Big Ben
The Clock Tower, with its Big Ben bell, is an iconic symbol of Britain's Houses of Parliament. There is a proposal to change the name to Elizabeth Tower. (Shutterstock)

Some British politicians are hoping to give Queen Elizabeth a gift no one will ever forget -- renaming the tower that houses the famous Big Ben bell after her.

QueenThere are 23 MPs from the Conservative party who on Friday signed a motion requesting that the east tower that dominates the Houses of Parliament be called Elizabeth Tower in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The west tower, by the way, is named after Queen Victoria, the only other monarch who have served 60 years on the throne.

The tower which houses the world famous Big Ben bell is called the Clock Tower and was completed in 1859. Big Ben is the largest of five bells in the tower.

The Queen herself is mum on the issue as she continues her tour around the UK. She was n Manchester on Friday (right).

Republicans immediately called the proposed change "profoundly inappropriate."

"The idea that you're going to turn a major feature of our parliament into a tribute to an unelected, unaccountable head of state completely stands against absolutely everything that democracy's about. It's absolutely obscene," said Graham Smith, a spokesman for the Republic pressure group.

MP Tobias Ellwood is leading the charge to honour the monarch with the name change.

"I can’t think of a greater tribute for Parliament to bestow on Her Majesty than the naming of such a landmark as the Clock Tower," he said. "If we get the support I hope we will, I would like to see a formal announcement or a ceremony taking place on June 2."

The main Diamond Jubilee celebrations take place June 2-5.

Senior politicans from the main parties have endorsed the campaign, which would have to go through the House of Commons Commission for approval.

Big Ben -- which is the nickname of the largest bell in the clock tower -- was reportedly named after Sir Benjamin Hall, but there are others who claim the name came from Ben Caunt, a champion English boxer from the mid-1800s.

Meanwhile, the Queen stayed far away from the debate as she and Prince Philip visited Manchester to open some new hospitals and visit the BBC's MediaCityUK complex. Hundreds of people waving British flags greeted the couple as they arrived.

Next Thursday, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour continues with stops in the London districts of Redbridge, Walthamstow and Harrow.

Queen bbc
Queen Elizabeth visits the BBC sport offices at MediaCity in Salford, Greater Manchester on Friday. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh opened hospitals and toured the new BBC building at MediaCityUK as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. (Getty Images)

Queen hospital
Queen Elizabeth arrives to open Central Manchester City Hospitals in Manchester.
Definitely in the pink health-wise, the 85-year-old Queen wore a strawberry pink linen dress by Angela Kelly, with a matching wool coat with a ruby diamond fan brooch. (AFP/Getty Images)

Queen  manchester
Queen Elizabeth greets some of her fans as she visits MediaCityUK to tour the new BBC studios on Friday. (AFP/Getty Images)

Comments

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So, uncounted generations of my family can live on monarchal welfare and then expect places of historical import to be re-named in my honour. Where do I apply?

After reading this article it made me have a better understanding of the royal family. I enjoyed seeing the pictures, especially the basketball ones because i personally love basketball. This shows that they are everyday people.

So they want to rename it Big Betty?

really? I doubt anyone would go along with this, even if it's made official. When you say "Big Ben", you automatically know what the person is referring to. Say "Elizabeth Tower", and the other person's going to be like... what place is that?

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