15 Aug Big Ben Silenced For 4 Years Starting Next Week
If you’re traveling in London this week be sure to listen for the bell of Big Ben as it will be the last time to hear the clock tower for four years.
Big Ben — the huge clock bell of Britain’s Parliament — will fall silent next week as a four-year restoration project gets underway.
The rings of the iconic bell will be stopped after chiming noon on Aug. 21 to protect workers during a 29-million-pound ($38 million) repair project on the Queen Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and its clock. It isn’t due to resume regular service until 2021.
Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said Monday that the clock mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired. The 13.5 British ton (15.1 U.S. ton, 13.7 metric tons) bell will be cleaned and checked for cracks.
Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded in 1859, but the current restoration project will mark its longest period of silence.
Parliamentary officials say they will ensure that the bell still sounds on major occasions, such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.