Left: "Little Ben" on the traffic island. Right: Close-up of the face of "Little Ben."

Little Ben, London, a Grade II listed clock tower. Made of cast iron by Croydon clockmakers Gillett and Johnston (still in operation), and first erected nearer Victoria Station in 1892, it now stands on a traffic island at the junction of Vauxhall Bridge Road and Victoria Street. It is a nine-metre-high scale model of A. W. N. Pugin's Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament. With four clock faces, it is described in the listing text as being "[s]quare in section," and as having "4 main stages of decorated cast iron, clock stage widest, pinnacled and crowned by narrow octagonal stage with ogee dome and weathervane." Little Ben was taken down in 1964, but restored and returned with a new mechanism in 1981, in celebration of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding (this information is inscribed on the base), and in 2016 it was replaced here having been removed for several years during construction work. It was restored again at that time, on this occasion by another firm established in the Victorian period, Smith of Derby. It still looks very smart. The late nineteenth century was an age when clock towers were popular, and were erected in towns and parks all over the country, usually in commemoration of the Queen's Jubilee. This one is a splendid example of ornate cast-iron work. [Click on these images for larger pictures.]

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Related material


"Clock at the Junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road, Little Ben...." Historic England. Web. 2 May 2018.

"The History of Gillett & Johnston." Gillett & Johnston. Web. 2 May 2018.

"Little Ben." The London Encyclopaedia. Ed. Ben Weinreb, Christopher Hibbert, Julia Keay and John Keay. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan, 2008. 488-489.

"Smith and Derby: Street Clocks." Smith of Derby (click on the picture of Little Ben for a whole spread of photographs of it). Web. 2 May 2018.

Created 2 May 2018