Big Ben Is Going Silent For How Long?!

Play           How Does Big Ben Keep Accurate Time?         00:51

Play How Does Big Ben Keep Accurate Time? 00:51

The iconic London landmark will stop chiming from 21 August as the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower, which houses the clock, undergoes a series of repairs, the Telegraph reported on Monday.

Theresa May has attacked plans for Big Ben to be kept silent for four years while restoration work takes place.

The £29m conservation project includes the fix of the tower, which houses the Great Clock, and its bell. Parliament's specialist clock makers will ensure that Big Ben can still bong for important national events, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

Officials say the silencing is needed "to ensure the safety of those working in the tower".

This led to press criticism, and Brexit Secretary David Davis described the move as "mad". There's hardly a health and safety argument in replacing a bell.

Several other MPs have attacked the proposals, with fellow Conservative James Gray calling the idea "entirely bonkers". As it is the clock mechanism which drive the bells, Big Ben's bongs would be silenced during this time anyway.

"There's a sort of rude phrase which I will shorten to 'just get on with it".

'I mean maybe it's to do with all the trouble about the £3 billion they want to spend on Parliament, who knows? "The Luftwaffe could not stop it but health and safety has".

Big Ben last fell silent for maintenance in 2007, and prior to that during a major revamp between 1983 and 1985, however this is expected to be the longest period of silence since the chimes began 158 years ago. Jaggs encouraged members of the public to gather in nearby Parliament Square to hear the final bongs next Monday.

Liberal Democratic MP Tom Brake, a member of the commission, has written to the Commons director general to ask about the cost and practicality of "ringing them more frequently" during the fix works.

Big Ben strikes on the hour in the note of E. There are four smaller bells beneath it that ring on the "quarter" hours.

An article in the Daily Mail said: "Not even Nazi bombs could silence the famous symbol of Britishness".

Past year the House of Commons said the bells would have to be switched off for "several months" to allow the fix work to take place.

The BBC, which uses the live sound of the chimes to introduce the 6pm and midnight news on Radio 4, will use a recording instead.

Constant proximity and prolonged exposure to the chimes would pose a serious risk to the hearing of those working on the scaffolding or in the Tower.

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