Big Ben will go silent for four years
The iconic Big Ben clock in London on top of Britain’s Houses of Parliament is going silent for four years to undergo repairs, according to USA Today. The bells will stop on Aug. 21, 2017, and will start again in 2021, but the bells will still ring for major holidays such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.
This isn't the first time Big Ben has fallen silent since it first rang in 1859; the last restoration was 1983-1985. The new repairs to the clock will cost $38 million and will include an an elevator for disabled people who are not capable of climbing the clock’s 334 steps, according to CNN.
“This historic clock is loved by so many people. It is an honor and a responsibility to keep it in good working order for public enjoyment,” Steve Jaggs, keeper of the clock, told USA Today.
According to CNN, "the clock has chronic problems with the bearings behind the hands and the pendulum." In order to restore the clock, the clock will be dismantled, the clock’s hands will be cleaned and repaired, and the bell on the clock will be cleaned and checked for cracks. According to CNN, if not repaired, the hands could even fall off one day, which would be disastrous since they are so large and heavy: the hour hand weighs 660 pounds, and the minute hand weigh 220 pounds.