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article imageBig Ben clock tower in London is leaning

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By Sean Fraser     Jan 23, 2012 in World
London - The famous clock tower that houses one of the most famous bells in the world is leaning, says experts. Members of the House of Commons met Monday to hash out what to do about preserving the important landmark.
BBC News reports that the lean is about .26 degrees from center, and construction expert and professor John Burland says that the lean has been there for years.
Burland oversaw the construction of a five story car park near the base of the tower, and he claims to have noticed the lean then. He also noticed cracks in the base, but said that "There's no such thing as an old building that isn't cracked. In fact they're beneficial because the building moves thermally more than is caused by the Jubilee Line (the subway line that runs under Parliament) and the movements concentrated around the cracks and, if they didn't, there'd be cracking elsewhere."
Burland also estimates that the tower would take around 10,000 years to match the lean of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The House of Commons Commission is debating between two solutions to the lean: closing Parliament while restoration efforts get started, or selling the entire complex to wealthy foreigners who will pay to fix it, according to the L.A. Times.
The clock tower was built in 1859, and has been an iconic landmark in England ever since. The clock on the tower is famously accurate, even during the German blitzkrieg during World War II. The British like to use the tower as the focal point of New Year's celebrations, similar to the big ball in New York City's Times Square. It is often mistaken that the tower, or the clock, is called Big Ben. However, Big Ben is actually the 14 ton bell in the tower, which rings on special occasions.
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