Lamp at Big Ben to be turned off

Lamp at Big Ben to be turned off

A lamp at the top of the Elizabeth Tower which houses the UK's iconic Big Ben will be switched off for the first time in more than 70 years, authorities said today.

Another Conservative politician, member of parliament Nigel Evans, suggested earlier on Wednesday that the bongs could be switched back on every evening when the workers carrying out the renovations of the clock tower finished for the day.

Big Ben has been steadily ringing for more than 150 years, with only a few minor breaks for maintenance and special occasions.

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All the other bells which chime every 15 minutes will be silent as well during the works that are due to be completed in 2021 when Big Bell's familiar tolls will begin again. The famous chimes can still be trotted out for holidays like New Year's Eve, so there will be chances to hear it over the next few years.

The Elizabeth Tower, which is 96 metres high, is the most photographed building in Britain.

"Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project", Steve Jaggs, whose official title is "Keeper of the Great Clock", said in a parliament statement on Monday (Aug 14).

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The tower itself is commonly referred to as Big Ben even though the name applies only to the bell. The clock's four dials will be cleaned and repaired, their cast iron framework renewed and the hands removed and refurbished.

The project's cost was estimated past year at £29 million (B1.25 billion).

One working clock face will remain visible at all times, telling the time silently, and it will be powered by a modern electric motor until the original clockwork mechanism is reinstated.

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