27 Jun 2012

Big Ben to be renamed Elizabeth Tower

2:02 pm on 27 June 2012

London's Big Ben clock tower is to be renamed Elizabeth Tower to mark the Queen's 60th year on the British throne.

The announcement on Tuesday followed four days of celebrations earlier this month to mark 86-year-old Queen's Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

The landmark, part of Britain's Houses of Parliament, is officially called the Clock Tower but is commonly known as Big Ben, the name of the giant bell in the tower that chimes the famous bongs in the capital.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the name change, describing it as an exceptional tribute to an exceptional monarch," he said.

However, many Britons were opposed to the tower name change. A YouGov poll last month found almost half opposed proposals to rename the Clock Tower, and only 30 percent supported the idea.

The ornate 96-metre high neo-Gothic tower, sited on the bank of the River Thames in the heart of London's Whitehall, features four gilded clockfaces and was completed in 1859.

The name change was proposed by Conservative Party lawmaker Tobias Ellwood and accepted by parliamentary authorities.

The jubilee celebrations underscored a surge in popularity for the Queen in recent years, and included the biggest flotilla on the Thames for more than three centuries, a star-studded concert and a horse-drawn procession through the capital.