Most visitors are deeply impressed by the long, neo-Gothic façade of the Houses of Parliament, the Parliament building. The symbol of London is the tall bell tower with its imposing clock called Big Ben.
The name is derived form the large bell on the inside. At every full hour you can hear a few tones from Handel's Messiah. The same tune is used by the news of the BBC.
If you see the light above the clock on, you know the Lower House is still in session.
In the autumn of 1834, the old parliament buildings was destroyed by fire. The architectural competition launched later on, was won by Charles Barry with a neo-gothic design which satisfied the taste of that time. The works, which began in 1840, would take 20 years to succeed.