BIG BEN TO FALL SILENT UNTIL 2021

Big Ben

Crowds gathered in Parliament Square on Monday 21 August to hear The Great Bell of Westminster strike midday for the last time until 2021. It has now been silenced to allow for major conservation work to be carried out.

Big Ben has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years. It last fell silent for maintenance in 2007, and prior to that between 1983-5 as part of a previous large scale refurbishment programme. 

The Great Clock is operated by a custom built Victorian clockwork mechanism, which relies on gravity to trigger the renowned bongs. To stop the bells, the striking hammers will be locked and the bell disconnected from the clock mechanism, allowing the Great Clock to continue telling the time silently. 

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. The bells will resume their regular time keeping duties in 2021. 

Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock, said: ‘Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis.’

Chris Papworth, Guild Chairman, said: 'We hope that some members of the British Watch & Clockmakers Guild may be able to go along'.

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