Most everyone is familiar with London’s time-keeping landmark, Big Ben. For over 150 years now the bell has been tolling to help keep residents and visitors aware of exactly what time it is. However, it’s been silenced as of late for repair work, that will keep it quiet (apart from some special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve) for the next four years.
It’s been bonging every hour, on the hour, since 1859, but now Big Ben won’t be bonging until 2021 hits!
Travelweek advised that the clock tower’s bell is being silenced to roll out some much-required maintenance work. The bell needs to be stilled so that workers can conduct this project, without the threat of being deafened. While this makes complete and utter sense, there are still those who are criticizing the move, as the landmark is such a huge part of Britain’s democracy.
Teresa May, Prime Minister, chimed in on the issue relaying that it doesn’t seem right for Big Ben to be quiet for four years. Stephen Pound of the Labour Party, also recently pointed out that he doubted the work would be finished on time, by 2021. He questioned if any project that the government has launched hit scheduled dates or remained on budget. Touché, Mr. Pound, touché.
Still, the House of Commons has piped back stating they will review the schedule of repairs once Parliament comes back from its summer break, sometime in September.
Still, this isn’t the first time Big Ben has lost his bong, as he was silenced for repairs ten years ago in 2007. However, this repair project is the longest he’s ever been silenced.
As an iconic London landmark, most of the world knows the clock tower as Big Ben, even though its formal name is Elizabeth Tower, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.
As workers conduct repair and maintenance on Big Ben, scaffoldings will cover some parts of the building, including clock faces at times; although a minimum of one face will be showing at all times.
While it’s a compelling argument that Big Ben should not be silenced, as House of Parliament’s Principal Architect noted recently, all buildings need to be serviced at one point or another. He also stated that the work will ensure the build’s security for the next six decades.
Sixty years of Big Ben’s bell tolling? What’s four little years in the grand scheme of things to ensure well-being and maintenance? Not much if you ask us!