Big Ben to chime for the first time since new year

Big Ben to chime for the first time since new year

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The famous chimes of Big Ben will ring out for the first time since the new year.

Big Ben’s iconic bongs were temporarily silenced in August last year for the safety of workers involved in a four-year restoration scheme.

The chimes are only being reactivated for special occasions until the programme is complete.

Big Ben will ring out again between 8pm and 10pm on Thursday to test the bell ahead of Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

 

'Chimes of freedom' 

Labour MP Stephen Pound

Labour MP Stephen Pound, who has led a backlash against the silencing of the bells, was in Parliament to hear the rare chimes.

The Ealing North MP said: "Remembrance Sunday is a solemn occasion and the sonorous sound of the bells will certainly add to the sense of occasion.

"I salute the courage of the Bell Master who agreed to let this happen and let the chimes of freedom ring out again over the city."

The Elizabeth Tower, home to the Great Clock and the Great Bell - known as Big Ben - is undergoing a complex programme of conservation works to safeguard it for generations to come.

Parliament's team of clock mechanics temporarily disconnected Big Ben and the quarter bells from the clock mechanism and lowered the weights to the base of the tower in order to provide a safe environment for the people working in the Elizabeth Tower.

A bespoke electric mechanism has been built to power the 200kg striking hammer in order to ensure the Great Bell can mark Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve.

Only the Great Bell - Big Ben - will strike. The quarter bells will not chime.