Big Ben

Big-BenQuestion: How long will the repairs on Big Ben take?

Answer: Three years – costing almost £30m.

Recently, the government made the decision to begin extensive repairs on Big Ben. Britain’s most famous clock is to be halted for several months, with the chimes of the tower’s bell to be stopped even longer.

Standing in London for nearly 160 years, the last time extensive repairs were done on Big Ben, was over 30 years ago. The work is due to begin in early 2017 and experts say, to keep the clock’s accuracy, the pendulum will need to be removed and repaired at some point within the three-year period.

A spokesman said “The clock mechanism will need to be stopped for several months in order to carry out essential maintenance, during this period there will be no chimes. We are also investigating whether or not the chiming will have an effect on operatives working at high level, which will need to be taken into consideration. Striking and tolling will be maintained for important events.”

The Big Ben name was given to the enormous bell inside the tower, originally. However, over time, the name has been more commonly used for the tower, bell and clock as a whole.

During the repairs, the clock might be stripped of its black and gold paint, which was applied in the 1980s. If this does happen, it is said that it could be repainted in its Victorian appearance of green and gold.

Parliament conducted a Q&A on their website and found that parts of the “Great Clock” have become worn and required urgent repair. There is also a high risk that the clock would fail if the problems aren’t attended to soon. There are also concerns about the pendulum’s accuracy and its suspension spring which holds it in place.

Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Clock, said “This project will enable us to give one of Britain’s most famous landmarks the TLC it so desperately needs and deserves.”

What do you think? Do you think the repairs should start sooner than 2017?

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