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Big Ben Red Sunset

November 2007

30,000 views on Flickr

I remember walking along the river and seeing this sunset coming. What I wanted to find was a good view in the foreground to use while the sunset would form the backdrop. I decided Big Ben was the best image given the location of the sunset at that time of year and got into a position using a slippery set of steps leading down to the river, this allowed me to achieve a low angle. There were five minutes when the sky, the river and everything turned red. I have never seen any sunset like it since and in 2012 revisited the original files and created this image which has now had 30,000 views on Flickr.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower. The tower is now officially called the Elizabeth Tower, after being renamed to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Elizabeth Tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. The tower was completed in 1858 and had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009, during which celebratory events took place. The Elizabeth Tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England and is often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

The Elizabeth Tower was raised as a part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was largely destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October 1834. The new Parliament was built in a Neo-gothic style. Although Barry was the chief architect of the Palace, he turned to Augustus Pugin for the design of the clock tower, which resembles earlier Pugin designs, including one for Scarisbrick Hall.

The design for the Elizabeth Tower was Pugin's last design before his final descent into madness and death, and Pugin himself wrote, at the time of Barry's last visit to him to collect the drawings: "I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower and it is beautiful." The tower is designed in Pugin's celebrated Gothic Revival style, and is 96m high.