Big Ben bell to fall silent for 4 years

Big Ben bell to fall silent for 4 years”

Parliamentary authorities said stopping Big Ben - the commonly used name for the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower - would protect workers carrying out the repairs. It is accompanied by four quarter bells, which weigh between one and four tonnes each and chime every 15 minutes.

Big Ben was last silent in 2007 and between 1983 and 1985 as part of previous renovations. It was also muted for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral in 2013.

The chimes of the world's most iconic clock are to be silenced for the next four years while major conservation works are carried out.

Much of the complex dates from the mid 19th century and is riddled with asbestos, while pollution is causing the stonework to decay.

"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", he added.

However, the heating, ventilation, water, drainage and electrical systems are now extremely antiquated and improvements to fire safety are needed.

The works will fix and redecorate the interior of the Elizabeth Tower - often incorrectly called Big Ben rather than the bell - and improve fire-safety measures.

Members of the public have been invited to gather in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben's final bongs until they return in 2021. It is also planned to wash and fix the Big Ben dials.

As well as conservation work to the tower, the Great Clock will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired. As the clock mechanism itself will be temporarily out of action, a modern electric motor will drive the clock hands until the Great Clock is reinstated.

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