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Big Ben's bongs are going to be silenced

Big Ben's bongs are going to be silenced for months (and not for the first time)

28 April 2016


Big Ben's bongs are going to be silenced for months

In London, it's a sound as regular as, well, clockwork. The bells of Big Ben ring out across the river every 15 minutes, accurate to the second. Even as bombs pelted down during the raids of World War II, the clock kept time and continued to chime.
But the great clock will stop during a three-year conservation and repair programme, scheduled to begin early next year and estimated to cost £29 million. After more than 157 years of faithful service, it's hardly surprising that Big Ben is in need of some loving care. There are worries about the pendulum's accuracy. The suspension spring, which holds the pendulum in place, needs replacing. That can't happen without stopping the clock.
There will be repairs to the Elizabeth Tower's water-damaged masonry and iron work. The clock could also be in for a facelift, with plans to swap the black-and-gold paint applied in the '80s with the green and gold thought to be original. (Who didn't make the odd make-up faux pas in the '80s?)

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