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Big Ben in a blur: Flickr photo of the day

Compass

The “quarter bells” in the Clock Tower at London’s Palace of Westminster, had just played their penultimate tune when photographer Brad Hammonds captured this image.

The huge clock, with its 13-foot long, 660-pound pendulum is remarkably accurate and has only been silent 11 times since it first chimed on July 11, 1858. (The two years during the Blitz, beginning in 1916, were the longest silence ever.) The clock’s huge pendulum swung five times during the 10 seconds Hammonds’ camera captured the image; a bus roared, cars honked and mopeds whined as Londoners hurried home on a Friday night. Fifteen minutes later the bells played the full “Cambridge Tune” and the 13-ton bell, known the world over as Big Ben, clanged seven times: the slow heartbeat of the bustling city. 

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