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Ed Marshall

Big Ben's bongs are going silent for the first time in ten years

Josh Mcloughlin

Every Londoner's favourite clock, whose chimes have been telling commuters they're late for work since 1855, is going to fall silent in the New Year while essential repairs are carried out.

The clock mechanism will be paused for four to six months at some point in 2017 (we haven't been told exactly when, but it won't be before the second half of the year) whilst clock faces and dials are removed in succession, so urgent repairs can be carried out. Refurbishments also include a lift to bring the Elizabeth Tower in line with modern health and safety requirements.

Big Ben is looking tired, and it's been 30 years since the last renovation, with officials bringing forward the repairs following concerns that Big Ben might fail long before a wider refurb of Westminster Palace, scheduled to begin in the 2020s.

Time-conscious revellers can breathe easy, though, because the bongs will still ring out as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve and other important events. Phew.

Don't panic, it's not the first time Big Ben's bongs have been silenced.

And remember when someone re-created Big Ben out of chips?

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