Big Ben was built as part of a design decision in 1844 that the new Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock. The rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament was necessary after a fire in 1834 destroyed the old Palace of Westminster.
During the construction of Big Ben, the first attempt at casting the bell resulted in a cracked bell before it was recast in 1858 in Whitechapel. The first ring of Big Ben occurred on May 31, 1859. However, the bell cracked again in September of the same year. The bell was rotated and a lighter bell hammer was fitted to avoid more damage.