The bell at the heart of London’s Houses of Parliament is to be silenced as renovation work takes place
The famous chimes of Big Ben in the Palace of Westminster in London will fall silent from next week until 2021 allowing essential repair works to take place.
The bongs will sound for the final time at midday on Monday before being disconnected to allow the clock and surrounding tower to be restored.
The Great Bell has sounded on the hour for 157 years.
It last fell silent in 2007 and before that, for major refurbishments between 1983 and 1985.
Parliamentary authorities said stopping Big Ben - the commonly used name for the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower - would protect workers carrying out the repairs.
The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock, although the bongs will still sound for important events such as New Year’s Eve celebrations.
‘This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home, the Elizabeth Tower,’ said Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock.
The Palace of Westminster on the bank of the River Thames is a world heritage site and major tourist attraction, and Jaggs encouraged members of the public to gather in nearby Parliament Square to hear the final bongs next Monday.