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.