(16 Aug 2017) British Parliament officials said on Wednesday they will review plans to silence Big Ben during four years of repairs after politicians criticised the lengthy muting of the beloved bell.
Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking during a tour of Britain’s new flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, said “it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years”.
The bell has sounded the time from Parliament’s clock tower since 1859, but it’s due to fall silent on Monday so repairs can be carried out on the Victorian clock tower.
Adam Watrobski, principal architect at the Houses of Parliament, told The Associated Press there “was a duty of care” to protect people working on the scaffolding during the restoration process.
“It isn’t that health and safety has stopped the bells working, it is quite simply that we can’t have the bells working with those people adjacent to it, it simply isn’t practical to do that,” he added.
The work is expected to last until 2021. Officials say the silencing is needed “to ensure the safety of those working in the tower.”
In a statement headlined “update on Big Ben’s bongs,” Parliament officials said that in light of the concerns authorities “will consider the length of time” Big Ben is stifled.
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