No, Big Ben is not really falling down. But it turns out it is leaning. Documents recently released by the British Parliament say the top spire of the famous clock tower is almost 18 inches out of alignment.
The over 300-foot tower is leaning to the northwest at an angel of .26 degrees, but experts tell the AP there is nothing to be concerned about. It would take thousands of years for Big Ben to reach, say, leaning Tower of Pisa proportions.
“We’re talking about unbelievably small
movements,” says engineering professor John Burland. “At the present rate, it will be 10,000 years before we reach [a Tower of Pisa situation].”
Burland also says that most old buildings have a natural shift as time goes on, though the 1990s construction of the London Underground did add to Big Ben’s natural shift.
The tower, which sits next to the Houses of Parliament on London’s River Thames, was completed in 1859.