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The hands of Big Ben are probably going to fall off

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What would the news be without Big Ben’s bongs? How would we know that Huw Edwards hasn’t gone rogue?

Is this the beginning of the end?

No, but it may be the beginning of a £29m refurbishment to one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Time is running out for the 156-year-old clock which is suffering from severe metal erosion, causing bearings behind the hands and pendulum to weaken. According to a leaked Commons report:

 

Either could become acute at any time, causing the clock to stop – or worse 

 

The ominous wording alludes to the nine-foot hands falling off and it they could come crashing down in two to three years.

Parliament's clock (Big Ben is the bell that sits within the famed Elizabeth tower) has been ticking along without renovation for 31 years, and at its last overhaul was only stopped for 26 days. This time around it could take at least four months to fix, and in the event that the hands fall off it could take up to a year thanks to the scaffolding required.

Short-term preventative work could cost £4.9m but “Committees of both Houses are currently considering the study”.

No decisions have been made but we’d suggest you avoid standing near the tower with tourist friends for a while. 


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