Tags: big ben | silent | repairs | construction

Big Ben Silent? Iconic Clock Could Shutter for 4 Months for Repairs

Image: Big Ben Silent? Iconic Clock Could Shutter for 4 Months for Repairs
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By    |   Monday, 19 Oct 2015 08:26 AM

Big Ben could go silent in London for as long as four months as the iconic clock tower undergoes more than $62 million in repairs.

A cross-party Commons Finance Committee report said that the Parliament's Great Clock needs 4.9 million pounds ($7.5 million USD) of work to keep "the clock from failing," but the larger sum — 40 million pounds ($62 million USD) — will address other problems with the renowned tourist attraction, Sky News reported.

"There are major concerns that if this is not carried out within the next two to three years, the clock mechanism is at risk of failure with the huge risk of international reputational damage for Parliament," the finance report states.

The clock stopped for 26 days in 1976 during a major upgrade. According to BBC News, Big Ben's hands, mechanism, pendulum, and Elizabeth Tower all need refurbishing.

"There are major concerns that if this is not carried out. . . the clock mechanism is at risk of failure with the huge risk of international reputational damage for Parliament," the report states. "In the event of a clock-hand failure, it could take up to a year to repair due to the scaffolding needed."

Big Ben's chimes were six seconds off in August, causing them to interrupt a BBC Radio 4 live broadcast.

Reuters reported that the 156-year-old clock, one of the biggest draws for London visitors, could be cloaked in scaffolding for months while the repairs are being made.

"Committees of both Houses are currently considering the study and will provide advice to inform the business case for how best to proceed," a parliamentary spokeswoman said to Reuters. "No decisions on works, timescales, or costs have been agreed."

Big Ben rang for the first time in 1859 after the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834. Officials determined in 1844 that the House of Parliament's new building will have a tower and clock.

Big Ben's chimes were first broadcast by the BBC in 1923, which is a continued tradition.

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Big Ben could go silent in London for as long as four months as the iconic clock tower undergoes more than $62 million in repairs.
big ben, silent, repairs, construction
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2015-26-19
Monday, 19 Oct 2015 08:26 AM
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