The “Big Ben” bell in the British parliament’s famous clock tower will cease its regular bongs at noon on August 21, falling silent for most of the next four years while renovation works are carried out, the House of Commons said on Monday (August 14).
The Palace of Westminster, home to parliament, on the bank of the River Thames, is a world heritage site and major tourist attraction. The 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower is believed to be the most photographed building in the United Kingdom.
As part of the works, the clock housing Big Ben will be dismantled and each cog examined and restored. The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock. Its four dials will also be cleaned and repaired, their cast iron framework renewed and the hands removed and refurbished.
One working clock face will remain visible at all times, telling the time silently, and it will be powered by a modern electric motor until the original clockwork mechanism is reinstated.
The works are expected to be completed in 2021.