Big Ben to strike for first time in a year

The Herald on Sunday - - NEWS -

BIG Ben is to strike to­day to mark the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice, de­spite the clock tower be­ing cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing for con­ser­va­tion works.

The 13.7 tonne bell, which hangs in the El­iz­a­beth Tower in West­min­ster, will sound 11 times at 11am on Sun­day for the tra­di­tional two min­utes of re­mem­brance, the Govern­ment has com­mented.

It will strike a fur­ther 11 times at 12.30pm with bells across the UK and world­wide as part of a pro­gramme of events to mark the end of the First World War 100 years ago.

Only Big Ben will be heard, while the four quar­ter bells that pro­duce the 16 notes of the West­min­ster Chimes will re­main silent.

The 159-year-old clock tower is cur­rently un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tion work, mean­ing the fa­mous bells have been silent since Au­gust 2017 after be­ing dis­con­nected from the main clock mech­a­nism.

The bells were re­con­nected briefly to ring in the new year in 2018, but the en­tire clock mech­a­nism of the tower has since been re­moved for re­pair and main­te­nance works. To en­sure that Big Ben can sound for im­por­tant na­tional events, a cus­tom-built elec­tronic mech­a­nism has been built to power the 200kg ham­mer.

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