The Leaning Tower of Big Ben

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Following the lead of Pisa, London now has its very own leaning tower- Big Ben. Engineers have revealed that the tower is very slowly tilting more and more to the northwest and the lean is now visible to the naked eye.

Big Ben is part of the parliamentary buildings in Westminster, and is one of the most iconic sights in the whole of London. Although technically the name Big Ben refers to the giant bell in the clock tower, generally it is also used for the tower itself. However, the famous view is slowly changing, with the top of the tower now one-and-a-half foot away from an upright position.

Engineers have suggested the reasons for the lean are to do with the decades of underground work that has been carried out beneath Big Ben. The Jubilee line of the Tube runs under Westminster, and an underground car park has been built under the tower itself, slightly weakening the foundations.

Not Quite Vertical

If the lean continues to worsen, Big Ben would eventually fall over, though you shouldn't be too worried just yet, as it would take another 4,000 years just for it to reach the same level of tilt as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Indeed, whilst Big Ben is just 0.26 degrees off vertical, the famous tower in Italy is a massive 4 degrees and 12 foot away from being straight.

A professor at Imperial Collage London, John Burland, has moved to dispel any fears for the tower, saying:

"I've heard tourists saying "I don't think it is quite vertical" and they are right. If it started greater acceleration we would have to look at doing something, but I don't think we need to do anything for a few years yet."

So there we are; Big Ben is leaning slightly, just not enough to start advertising it as the Leaning Tower of London quite yet.


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