London’s famous clock tower of Big Ben rang out 12 times on Monday for the last time before they go silent for a four-year long period as a part of the restoration work.
The prince of timekeepers: the biggest, most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world.
– The clockmaker Ian Westworth of the Big Ben was quoted saying right after the gothic clock tower was completed in 1859.
The 13-ton bell undergoes a £29m restoration program until 2021 and the bongs will stop while the restoration work is on. While there has been a plenty of speculation on the bell going silent until 2021, the measure comes in as a way to safeguard the hearing of the tower workers.
Intervened in the lives of the people of London, the landmark tower of Big Ben has already been covered in scaffolding, starting from June. On Monday, Big Ben bonged for every hour and hundreds of people gathered in front of the parliament square holding their phones out to hear Big Ben chime for the last time. And as the last bong faded away, there was a round of polite applause – a heartfelt goodbye. Some people were seen crying and still believe that the bell will sound during the special occasions like New Year’s Eve.
The sound of this bell represents stability and solidity and continuity and when people come to this home of democracy, they are summoned by that bell to Parliament.
It means something, it really does. These are the chimes are freedom and they’ve got to respected. We’ve got to keep them bonging.
– British Party Labour MP said as he wiped off a tear.
Interestingly this is not the first time Big Ben is going silent, previously it has been silenced in 2007, and between 1983 & 1985 for maintenance reasons.
5 facts you didn’t know about Big Ben:
1. Do you know what it is called?
The clock tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower and only the great bell was nicknamed the Big Ben. Over time, the clock tower itself got referred to as Big Ben.
2. Do you know who’s the owner of the Big Ben?
Surprisingly, the owners of the Big Ben are the tax paying citizens of the UK. You know, they own the Houses of the Parliament too!
3. Do you know how Big Ben works?
They work on Gravity! Huge weights are added to each train of gears and when the clocks are properly wound, gravity pulls the weights down and the trains rotate.
4. Do you know if you can change the chiming sound?
Yes, you can actually change the way Big Ben sounds. You have to detach the cables connecting each bell to the chiming trains and then attach them to different bells. It sounds tedious but it’s still doable. But how do you think people will react if you changed the tone?!
5. Do you know how it’s cleaned?
Like you normally clean your house. With soap and water! Every five years, a group of window washers clean the four faces of the clock tower. Also making sure, they don’t break the glass.
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