Big Ben silent
Tourists walking the streets of London may not hear Big Ben’s bongs for months or even years as urgent repairs are carried out.
According to the Sunnday Times, parliament’s massive clock and the tower that supports it need as much as £40 million ($80 million) in repairs — work that will silence the famous bell, Big Ben.
Siting a Westminster source, the paper says the clock is so dilapidated it may grind to a halt. The Mail on Sunday suggested the clock’s hands could fall off without urgent action.
The Times says repairs to the Elizabeth Tower must begin as soon as possible and can’t wait for the 7 billion pound ($10.8 billion) restoration of the entire Palace of Westminster that is scheduled to begin at the end of the decade.
In 2012, it was announced that renovation work would not begin on the tower until at least 2020, an MPs’ committee said.
The decision came after surveyors found that Parliament’s Clock Tower – better known as Big Ben – was leaning.
The Clock Tower, housing the bell which is called Big Ben, was completed in 1859.