Big Ben Silenced for Repairs

Big Ben silenced for repairs, won't tell the time either
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2007 4:14 PM CDT
Workmen clean the clock face of St Stephens Tower which houses Big Ben in London Saturday Aug. 11, 2007. Big Ben is losing its bongs _ temporarily. The famous bell that sounds the hour at Britain's Houses...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The world’s most famous clock chimed its last tones of August at 8 AM this morning, and its hands were set to 12:00. Though it will soon tell time again, Big Ben will be silent for at least a month as it undergoes maintenance, the Guardian reports. This morning Londoners watched the work begin, as a group of "industrial rope access technicians" repelled down the clock face.

Observers will soon see scaffolding erected to facilitate the replacement of several crucial bell components. An alternative electric time-telling mechanism is also to be installed. The work is the last phase of a plan to spruce up the landmark for its 150th anniversary in 2009.