Big Ben is one of the most recognizable symbols of Britain, and indeed one of the most famous structures in the world. A quintessential part of London, every movie set in London features an establishing shot of Big Ben, and many guidebooks of London have the clock tower as its cover photo. London and Big Ben are forever linked in the consciousness of the Western world.
As it turns out, now is the time to admire and learn about Big Ben, because some believe it is likely to fall over. Since 2012, several sources have reported about the cracks appearing in walls all over the Palace of Westminster. This building houses Parliament and the House of Lords, which comprise the legislative bodies of the British Government. The building has stood in the same location since 1288, although it has not always been the same building. The palace and the tower have gone through renovation, rebuilding, fire, and more rebuilding, over the course of the last 720 years.
During the Battle of Britain in the Second World War, the clock tower was the only part of Westminster Palace to merely sustain superficial damage, but as the Luftwaffe pummeled away at the city and the country, the chimes became a symbol of the resilience of the British people. While the chimes have been stopped in the past due to mechanical error, the enemy was never able to silence Big Ben. This was a big part of the reason that England and the world continue to attach such significance to this clock tower.