Big Ben’s chimes fall silent until 202114/08/17Culture
The famous chimes of Big Ben will fall silent in the UK from next week until 2021 to allow essential repair works to take place.
The chimes sounded for the final time at midday today (14 August) before being disconnected to allow the clock and surrounding tower to be restored.
The bell has sounded on the hour for 157 years.
It last fell silent in 2007 and before that, for major refurbishments between 1983 and 1985.
Parliamentary authorities said stopping Big Ben would protect workers carrying out the repairs.
It will still sound for important events including New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.
The clock’s keeper, Steve Jaggs, said Big Ben falling silent was a “significant milestone” in the project to restore the tower.
“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.
The landmark Elizabeth Tower is said to be the most photographed building in the UK.
Scaffolding is up and repair work has already started.
The project’s principal architect Adam Watrobski said that the works would install new amenities in the tower, including a lift, toilet and kitchen.
Essential maintenance will also be carried out and the building will be made more energy efficient.