What do you think of when you think of London? Red buses? Buckingham Palace? London Eye? The underground? The Houses of Parliament?
For many people it’s Big Ben, the famous bell inside the Elizabeth Tower whose chimes you can hear across Westminster.
However, the famous ‘bongs’ are not going to be heard for the next four years as renovation works are being carried out.
— UK Parliament (@UKParliament) August 14, 2017
The great bell has marked every hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years but from noon next Monday, August 21, it will be silenced until work is completed some time in 2021.
The hammers will be locked and disconnected from the clock for health and safety reasons as work is carried out on the Elizabeth Tower.
But thankfully the bongs will still sound for important events such as New Year’s Eve.
Parliamentary authorities announced today on their website:
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 96-metre-tall tower is already covered in scaffolding as a part of the major renovation project but next week the clock housing will be dismantled.
It is believed that BBC Radio 4 will use a recording of the chimes before news reports during the works.