Well, well, well… Even the greatest things need refurbishment these days, don’t they? It’s called “wear and tear”, but when it comes to Big Ben, London’s most iconic landmark, should it be called, “for whom the bell tolls”, as it won’t be tolling now for a full four years, until 2021, at the very least. This is Big News! Big Ben News, to be precise…
So, will Japanese tourists be in cahoots at no bell sounds from now on? Or will Londoners even bat an eyelid? What will traditional money saving Londoners and tourists do on New Year’s Eve when the bells won’t toll? For a full four years, the annual gathering by the Big Ben for that great bell toll at midnight will be done without the actual bell ringing. That’s going to put a very real spanner in the works, surely. Our plans for New Years Eve this year and for following three years are now ruined. Sigh.
What would Chevy Chase say? We all remember him being so jovial driving around Parliament Square, don’t we? Surely, that imagery beats the notion of how in March of 2017, a domestic ISIS Jihadi enthusiast operative crushed and killed people on the pavement on Westminster Bridge, with some jumping off the bridge for the Thames in a bid to escape from Islamic terrorism.
We’d rather recall this below than that horrible day. So, here’s to Chevy Chase for making this landmark more famous than almost anybody else in contemporary times.
Wasn’t that nice? A slice of nostalgia indeed. For health and safety reasons, the great bell will be silenced for four years while restoration work commences to the heavy bell.
For the first time in 157 years, the bell will cease to work on Monday on the hour, so that workers won’t go deaf. We think that’s in keeping with the health and safety standards, so good on them, but how will we all survive without the great bell ring? What could possibly replace it, if anything?
Well, if Sadiq Khan had his way, he’d probably suggest an Islamic call for prayer, five times a day instead. In a newly built Mosque in Parliament Square that’s sponsored by the BBC, most likely. Thankfully, Britain hasn’t come to that stage yet…
Only kidding! Despite Parliament saying that the move to no bell toll was controversial, a spokeswoman said, “The chimes are being stopped to provide a safe environment for the people working on the scaffolding.”
She added, “Constant proximity to the chimes would pose a serious risk to their hearing, and would prevent efficient working.”
The bell weighs an incredible 14 tonnes and sounds off every hour to the “E” note on the musical scale. No, not on the party drug “E”, as Ben is a clean and wholesome bell. Also no, it doesn’t play the theme tune of the E! channel, just the musical note E, kids!
So in order to stop the striking of the E bell, the striking hammers will be locked and disconnected from the clock mechanism, allowing the Great Clock to continue telling the time without a peep. Here’s to the snoozing of all people in Westminster.
Alas, don’t fret about New Year’s eve, as apparently the bell will still strike for special occasions, such as for NYE and also for Remembrance Day, so really don’t panic people. You can still venture out there and stand around freezing your ass off and say “Whoohay, Happy New Year!” whilst you sip on a can of Carling or even some Champagne come January 1st.
The great clock keeper on site, Stephen Jaggs said, “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. As Keeper of the Great Clock I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis.”
Thanks to Stephen, Victorian values and culture will not be totally compromised completely. It’s another small victory for now, as who can really stand London without the great bell toll? It’s a bit of shock to be honest. Four years is a pretty long time, yknow?
London is even more magical with Big Ben ringing in the distance, so let’s hope they keep up with the promise of letting it ring on all the special occasions.
Brainstain, over and out!
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Featured Photo Credit: Evening Standard