Big Ben’s Timeless “Bongs” Ring in New Year Traditions


London’s iconic Big Ben, the majestic clock tower standing tall next to the British Parliament, is set to mark a significant milestone this Sunday—the 100th anniversary of its resonant “bongs” being broadcast live worldwide to usher in the New Year. Since that historic New Year’s Eve in 1923 when BBC engineer A.G. Dryland climbed onto a rooftop to capture the strikes, the live transmission of Big Ben’s chimes has evolved into an annual tradition, captivating audiences globally. The unmistakable sound of the “nation’s timepiece” holds a timeless place in the hearts of the British people.

Twice daily, at 6 pm and midnight, and three times every Sunday, the familiar bongs of Big Ben resonate on BBC radio, becoming a melodic thread woven into the daily lives of millions. Additionally, the chimes signal the commencement of the nightly News at Ten on the commercial channel ITV, adding a touch of tradition to modern media.

Big Ben, officially known as the Elizabeth Tower, has stood witness to the ebb and flow of history for over a century. Its chimes, initially intended as a practical timekeeping measure, have transcended their utilitarian purpose to become a symbol of national unity and continuity. Through wars, celebrations, and everyday life, the timeless resonance of Big Ben’s bongs has served as a constant reminder of the passage of time.

About Big Ben:

The “nation’s timepiece” is more than just a mechanical marvel; it symbolizes the cultural heartbeat of the United Kingdom. The shared experience of hearing Big Ben’s chimes, whether on the radio or during a visit to London, creates a sense of unity and nostalgia. It is a connection to the past, a marker of tradition that has endured through generations.

What began as a local recording by A.G. Dryland on that historic New Year’s Eve has grown into a global phenomenon. Today, millions around the world eagerly tune in to hear Big Ben’s chimes, welcoming the New Year together in a shared moment transcending borders. The live broadcast has become a virtual gathering, linking people from diverse backgrounds in a collective celebration.

As Big Ben’s timeless “bongs” mark a century of being broadcast live across the world, it’s a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the profound impact of a simple yet iconic sound. In an ever-changing world, the chimes of Big Ben continue to resonate, reminding us of the constants that bind us and the enduring spirit of shared moments that transcend time and geography.


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