London’s Big Ben will celebrate three 150th birthdays this year, starting with today’s anniversary of the first movement of the huge clock, the Evening Standard reports. July 11 marks the first ringing of “Big Ben,” the Great Bell that eventually gave its name to the tower, and September will see the anniversary of the first time all five bells rang at once.
The dedicated engineers who look after the clock and are preparing it to be fêted can forget its significance. “We really do take it for granted sometimes,” says a maintenance manager who must climb the tower’s 292 steps once a week “to make sure it is still there.” But that feeling fades as “the rest of the world becomes very interested when something happens to Big Ben. It is a unique symbol of Great Britain.”