Tower housing Big Ben gets a new name

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The 315-foot (96-meter)-high clock tower which houses the Big Ben bell is framed by a tree on Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, London, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. British officials are marking the renaming of Parliament’s iconic clock tower to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow on Wednesday unveiled a new name plaque designating the structure as Elizabeth Tower. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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LONDON (AP) — The iconic Clock Tower of Britain's Parliament was officially renamed Wednesday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

The 315-foot (96-meter)-high structure — widely, though incorrectly, known as Big Ben — is one of Britain's most recognizable landmarks.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow unveiled a new name plaque designating the structure the Elizabeth Tower.

The renaming ceremony is the culmination of a campaign by lawmakers to mark the monarch's 60 years on the throne.

The tower was completed in 1858. It houses a four-faced chiming clock and the famed 13.5 ton Big Ben bell. Over the years, people began calling the whole tower Big Ben — and likely will continue to do so.

"There's not one chance in 10,000 that visitors, that people in this country, will think of this tower as anything but Big Ben," Labour Party lawmaker Paul Flynn said.

 
 
 

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