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London's Big Ben Will Stay Silent Until 2021

London's Big Ben Will Stay Silent Until 2021

After Monday, one of London's most iconic sounds won't be heard for almost four years.

Big Ben has rung every quarter hour, nearly without interruption, for 157 years.

Staff should work through the night on Big Ben renovations to cut the time the bell is silenced for, a member of the committee that signed off the work has said.

Parliament bowed to pressure last week when it announced it would review the plans, which will silence the bell for the longest period in its 157-year history. The tower is "even on HP Sauce bottles", she added, referring to the blue label on the condiment known as steak sauce in Canada and "brown sauce" in the United Kingdom.

On Parliament and Big Ben.

The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at the House of Commons in Westminster.

Watch its last bongs here.

Parliament also said that the clock's faces would have to be covered up while they are being repaired.

A House of Commons commission has said it would consider the length of time the bells will fall silent, taking efficiency as well as health and safety into account.




To protect the hearing of the workers carrying out the repairs the clock will not strike the time throughout the duration of the refurbishment.

I'm off to cover the world's biggest story: "Big Ben's bongs and a mass demo by a few MPs", wrote the Daily Mirror's associate editor, Kevin Maguire.

"The reaction of many MPs to the "silencing" of Big Ben is utterly embarrassing and drives home the disconnect between Westminster (and) beyond", wrote Twitter user, William Booth.

Britain's Big Ben has fallen silent for four years of renovation work, with its final 12 bongs ringing for midday in front of a crowd of over 1,000 people.

The spokesman also explained why starting and stopping Big Ben was a complex and lengthy process: "The striking hammer is locked and the bells can then be disconnected from the clock mechanism". Parliamentary officials say they will ensure that the bell still sounds on major occasions, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

The bell is housed in the Elizabeth Tower, which looms over the Houses of Parliament and is one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions.

The bell is being stilled to allow workers to carry out much-needed maintenance to the clock and clock tower without being deafened.

The 29-million-pound ($38 million) fix project on the Queen Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and its clock, is expected to take years to complete.

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