Did you know that there is a version of The Construction Index for the USA? Visit the site No thanks
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Instagram
Daily construction news
Weekly plant news

Construction News

Sun September 24 2017

Related Information
Related Information
Related Information

News » UK » Big Ben to fall silent for building works » published 14 Aug 2017

Big Ben to fall silent for building works

On Monday 21st August at noon, the bongs of Big Ben will sound for the last time for a four-year conservation programme.

Elizabeth Tower and the Great Clock ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Above: Elizabeth Tower and the Great Clock ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The Palace of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower, home to Big Ben, is being renovated. While work takes place, the bongs will be suspended until 2021 to ensure the safety of those working in the tower.

In November 2016 Sir Robert McAlpine won the contract to carry out the pre-construction service agreement and to erect the scaffolding. The second stage of the procurement process is under way for the final works contract. An announcement will be made in the autumn.

This project is not part of the wider Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme, which is not expected to start until the 2020s. Work on the tower is so urgent that it could not be delayed.

The Great Bell, popularly called Big Ben, weighs 13.7 tonnes and strikes every hour to the note of E. It is accompanied by four quarter bells, which chime every 15 minutes. Big Ben has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years. The bongs last fell silent for maintenance in 2007, and prior to that between 1983-85 as part of a previous large scale refurbishment programme.

The Great Bell ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The Great Clock is operated by a custom-built Victorian clockwork mechanism, which relies on gravity to trigger the bongs. To stop the bells, the striking hammers will be locked and the bell disconnected from the clock mechanism, allowing the Great Clock to continue telling the time silently. Parliament’s specialist clock makers will ensure that Big Ben can still bong for important national events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. The bells will resume their regular time keeping duties in the course of 2021.

As part of the refurbishment work, the Great Clock itself will be dismantled piece by piece with each cog examined and restored. The four dials will be cleaned, the glass repaired, the cast iron framework renewed, and the hands will be removed and refurbished. At least one working clock face will remain visible at all times throughout the works. As the clock mechanism itself will be temporarily out of action, a modern electric motor will drive the clock hands until the Great Clock is reinstated.

Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock, said: “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. As Keeper of the Great Clock I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis. This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower. Members of the public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.”

The Great Bell ©UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

 

 

MPU

Further Images

The Great Bell ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor The Great Bell ©UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

Download our free construction news iPhone / iPad app. Sign up to our FREE email newsletters or subscribe to our RSS feed for regular updates on the latest Construction News, Plant News, Contract News & Supplier News. The Construction Index also provides the latest Construction Tenders, Construction Market Data & Construction Law Commentary all FREE.

This article was published on 14 Aug 2017 (last updated on 14 Aug 2017).

More News Channels