Big Ben falls silent

Big Ben will chime for the last time at noon on Monday until the completion of the work on Elizabeth Tower in 2021

For the next four years the instantly recognisable ringing will only be heard during special occasions.

This is said to be the longest period that the clock will be silent ever since it started chiming in 1889, four years after the tower was installed.

The planned silence has caused a loud commotion across the British capital.

Theresa May waded into the row, demanding a rethink of the decision.

The tale has a familiar ring. The original mechanical clock mechanism is to be completely dismantled, refurbished and put back together in a separate operation taking around two years. However, its regular chimes are not planned to resume until 2021. Each piece will be examined, then cleaned and repaired if needed.

It's been 30 years since the tower's previous renovation, so the time has come to make the extensive repairs to the structure.

'And it doesn't belong to us in Parliament, it belongs to the people of Britain, as far as I'm concerned, and we have to have them in mind'.

"Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project", Steve Jaggs, whose official title is "Keeper of the Great Clock", said in a parliament statement on Monday (Aug 14).

"In light of concerns expressed by a number of deputies, the committee of the House of Commons will re-evaluate the length of time for which the bells remain silent" to the resumption of parliament in September, according to the Parliament.

"At least it's still standing", she added.

The distinctive bong signalled to the country that war was over at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.

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It is an essential component of the landscape of London, and of the pantheon of national icons that present "Britishness" to the rest of the world.

'Nothing could be more symbolic really than Big Ben, which we all remember from the Second World War onwards'. That's become something of a saying this week.

A large crowd of MPs, parliamentary workers, members of the public and tourists clapped and cheered as the bell chimed at noon, before being halted to allow the work get under way.

"We need four years to do this?" he asked.

Conor Burns, an aide to Boris Johnson, said "the most enormous amount of nonsense had been talked" about the silencing of the bell amid hysteria over health and safety laws.

Prime Minister May chimed in on Wednesday.

The custom built Victorian clockwork mechanism has struck every hour to the note of E with nearly unbroken service for the past 157 years How does the Big Ben keep time?

Shortly after - nearly like clockwork - the British Parliament announced a committee would review the length of the proposed shutdown.

"We are being liberated from the European Union superstate and Britain will again be a completely self-governing country".

Parliament bowed to pressure last week when it announced it would review the plans, which will silence the bell for the longest period in its 157-year history.

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