Big Ben fails to bong for second time in a week | Politics News
Westminster’s Big Ben has failed to bong for the second time in a week despite a £90m refurbishment project taking place six years ago.
The clock, which sits in the Elizabeth Tower, stopped for the first time on Wednesday 10 May just before 1pm, and then again on Wednesday this week for around 30 minutes from 9am.
The famous bongs did not chime despite Big Ben only being brought back into business for the first time in five years last November.
A spokesperson for the House of Commons said they were aware of the problems and they were rectified “quickly”, with an “enhanced servicing of the mechanism” carried out shortly afterwards.
The spokesperson said the clock dials and bells of the tower were “functioning as normal and no risks to the integrity of the mechanism have been identified”.
They added that such issues were “not uncommon” following an “intensive conservation programme”.
The Elizabeth Tower – which weighs 12 tonnes and is 96 metres tall – was designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin and completed in 1859 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
It has weathered many a storm, including the Blitz, a century-and-a-half of London pollution and the discovery of asbestos.
The multi-million pound refurbishment of the Elizabeth Tower started in 2017 – forcing Big Ben to sit silent for five years, apart from on special occasions.
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The restoration involved extensive scaffolding, 500 workers and ended up running £51m over budget.
Big Ben’s original clock hands were brought back to the Elizabeth Tower in the summer of 2021, three years after they were removed for conservation work which saw the mechanism of the Great Clock taken apart piece by piece and restored in Cumbria.
The clock’s iconic dials were restored to their original colour of Prussian blue after experts discovered the shade under layers of black paint.
The lights behind the clock face are now powered with energy efficient LEDs as opposed to gas, while seven hundred pieces of stone were also replaced.
Big Ben bonged back into life for normal service on Armistice Day last November following the extensive restoration.