No more bongs! Big Ben to fall silent for 4 years of repairs

- The bongs will soon be gone.

Big Ben - the huge clock bell of Britain's Parliament - will fall silent next week as a four-year restoration project gets underway.

The bongs of the iconic bell will be stopped after chiming noon on Aug. 21 to protect workers during a 29-million-pound ($38 million) repair project on the Queen Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and its clock. It isn't due to resume regular service until 2021.

Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said Monday that the clock mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired. The 13.5 British ton (15.1 U.S. ton, 13.7 metric tons) bell will be cleaned and checked for cracks.

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.

Parliamentary officials say they will ensure that the bell still sounds on major occasions, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

The silence presents a problem for the BBC, which broadcasts the bongs every evening before the radio news through a microphone in the belfry.

After testing out the sound of substitute bells, the broadcaster said it will use a recording.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • No more bongs! Big Ben to fall silent for 4 years of repairs
  • 'Enormous number' of parasites in North Korean defector's body, doctors say
  • Huge fire rages in Manhattan
  • Spice up your Thanksgiving with this Flamin' Hot Cheetos turkey
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson discloses Parkinson's disease diagnosis
  • 20 injured in fire at Pennsylvania senior living community
  • Keystone pipeline leaks 210K gallons of oil in South Dakota
  • Chase suspect breaks out in a dance on Houston freeway in front of officers
  • FDA approves 'smart pill' equipped with tracking sensor
  • Siblings hug and kiss each other everyday after school bus drop off