Britain's Big Ben falls silent for 4 years

Four years without Big Ben's bongs? It can't be right, says UK PM May

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, who answers his colleagues' questions on the Commission's behalf, said one concession could be allowing Big Ben to chime on more special occasions.

The custom built Victorian clockwork mechanism has struck every hour to the note of E with nearly unbroken service for the past 157 years How does the Big Ben keep time?

Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded in 1859, but the current restoration project will mark its longest period of silence. 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.

It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria but Londoners started calling the bell "Big Ben" and the name stuck.

The giant bell atop Parliament's clock tower sent a dozen deep bongs into a gray sky at noon, marking the hour as it has done nearly continuously since 1859. The Great Clock it forms part of is to be dismantled and repaired.

"It's like a memorial day", one visitor from Bristol, Maria Droulias, told Xinhua, "It's really sad to know that it's not going to chime for four years".

According to BBC, while the fix work is ongoing, an electric motor will drive the clock hands, so it will continue to tell the time.

Plans to silence Big Ben for four years were met with anger last week - but officials have still ruled out a reprieve.

The House of Commons has said it will look again at the length of time Big Ben will be silenced after "concerns" were raised.

"Tell these poor little to put a helmet", has reacted in the press the conservative mp Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, in referring to workers whose hearing could be seriously damaged by the 118 decibels of Big Ben.

Principal architect at the Houses of Parliament Adam Watrobski said authorities were well aware of how much interest the bell and the tower generate.

"Of course, any discussion will focus on undertaking the work efficiently, protecting the health and safety of those involved, and seeking to ensure resumption of normal service as soon as is practicable".

'Nothing could be more symbolic really than Big Ben, which we all remember from the Second World War onwards'.

The famous bell will not be heard ringing on the hour in London until 2021, though it is still expected to feature on certain dates, including New Year's celebrations and Remembrance Sunday, reports Efe.

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