Big Ben's bongs to be silenced for four years from next week
Big Ben will fall silent for four years from next Monday, the Parliamentary authorities have announced.
The famous bell is to undergo renovation works that will last into 2021, meaning it will only chime for major events like Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.
The last regular ringing will take place at noon next Monday.
The repairs will mark only the third time in 157 years that there has been a long-term break in the bonging, with the previous pauses taking place in 2007 and from 1983 to 1985 – both for maintenance work.
The Great Clock will be dismantled and refurbished as part of the project, which will also see repairs carried out to the Elizabeth Tower which houses the bell and clock.
Steve Jaggs, the keeper of the Great Clock, said: “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project.
“As keeper of the Great Clock I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis. This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower.
“Members of the public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.”
The works on the tower, clock and bell are separate to the planned multi-billion pound restoration of the whole parliamentary estate, with MPs yet to decide whether they will move out for the duration of the refurbishment.
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