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Big Ben Bell to Fall Silent for 4 Years as Repairs Start | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Big Ben. Reuters photo

Big Ben in the British parliament’s famous clock tower will fall silent next week as a major restoration project gets underway.

The bongs of the iconic bell will be stopped on Aug. 21 to protect workers during a four-year, 29-million-pound ($38 million) conservation project that includes repair of the Queen Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and its clock in London.

Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said Monday that the mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired.

Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded in 1859, but the current restoration project will mark the longest period of silence for the bell.

It will still sound on big occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday.

The 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower is believed to be the most photographed building in the United Kingdom.