This Is Why London’s Big Ben Is About to Go Silent for 4 Years
Say goodbye to the chimes.
After next Monday, Londoners and tourists won’t be able to hear Big Ben until 2021. The bell that rings from The Elizabeth Tower in London will be under construction for the next four years, according to a statement from Parliament’s website.
Though it is often referred to when talking about the tower, Big Ben actually refers to the Great Bell, which sounds every hour. Over the past 157 years, it has only gone under construction twice: once in 2007 and once from 1983 to 1985.
“Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project,” Steve Jaggs, Keeper of The Great Clock, said in a statement. “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.”
Construction started earlier this year, and conservators are working their way up to the clock with scaffolding. The Great Clock will be dismantled, examined, and restored, according to the release from Parliament.
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But tourists shouldn’t worry about missing a photo opportunity or double-checking their newly-adjusted watches, as one of the four clock faces will be working at all times. The Ayrton Light, which signals when members of Parliament are meeting, is also going to undergo renovation.
Crowds will gather in Parliament Square to hear the final sounds from Big Ben on Monday, August 21 at 12 p.m.