This week, Big Ben’s bongs ceased (temporarily, he shall ring again in 2021), due to repair works – leaving London longing for his bonging. How will we be able to tell the time without it?
To replace that ringing in your ears, you could try sitting on the bus during the school run or watching back-to-back episodes of ‘Countdown’ on All 4… Or you could follow our advice and go find somewhere fun to hear the bells.
Great Tom strikes the hours, just like our beloved Ben, but also sounds at the death of senior royal family members and some prominent Catholic figures. The famous cathedral holds the second-largest ring of change bells in the world, with an impressive 12 bells ring-out every Sunday.
This church bell, named Edward, was a gift from the Duchess of Norfolk in 1910, inscribed with a prayer of protection over England. Upcoming events include the Battle of Britain Service on September 17 and St Matthew’s Day on September 21 when Edward’s ‘prayer’ will be heard over the capital.
The Docklands Ringers groups across south-east London promote the dying art of bell-ringing. Active in 11 locations, they hold bell-ringing training every Thursday. Go along and learn to ring, or just to listen.
Two teams of handbell-ringers are based at All Saints’ Church in South Croydon. The Sanderstead 2 O’Clock Bells group dedicate their Monday afternoons to learning and teaching the unsung art of the handbells. On the plus side, they are a lot easier to practise with in your living room.
This form of meditation involves an hour-long session of gong sounds playing as you have a nap – the organiser encourages you to bring a blanket. It’s supposed to be very relaxing, and a potential hangover cure.
It’s not all about the bongs. Here are 16 things you probably didn’t know about Big Ben.
Want one last hit? Hear Big Ben bong for the last time until 2021.
Image: Flickr/Michael Garnett