- Thomas Kelley / Unsplash
Big Ben will chime again just in time for Christmas, according to Sky News.
In August parliamentary authorities announced that Big Ben’s famous bongs were to be silenced for up to four years for health and safety reasons as restoration work is carried out on the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the bell.
While it was stated that The Great Bell would still bong for important national events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday, Christmas was not originally included.
However, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom asked parliamentary officials to bring the bells back for the festive season, meaning they will chime from December 23 until New Year’s Day, with a schedule to be announced “shortly.”
“Some people might think this is a trivial matter – but over the course of the repairs, we have a duty to uphold the huge appeal of Big Ben to the millions of tourists that visit it each year,” Leadsom told The Sunday Times.
“I’m sure visitors to the Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal would be incredibly disappointed if they were covered in scaffolding – the same is true of Elizabeth Tower.”
She added that she would “continue to press for the bell to ring again before 2021.”
The Great Bell, popularly called Big Ben, has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years.
It fell silent on August 21 for the controversial four-year renovations, which are due to cost £61 million, according to Sky News – a sharp increase from the original estimation of £29 million.