Parliament’s Great Clock — widely known as Big Ben (although pedants will tell you this is the name of the bell, not the clock) — will be getting a wash next week, for the first time since 2010.
A team of abseiling technicians will be scrubbing each of the four clock faces — each of which is made up of 312 pieces of pot opal glass, held together by a cast iron framework — from Monday to Friday. They’re allowing a day per face, with a day set aside for delays due to bad weather.
Wearing ear defenders to protect their hearing from the clanging of the bell, they will also make a photographic survey of the faces, to inspect for damage.
The clock will continue to measure time throughout the cleaning process, but the hands of the clock will be temporarily paused as each side is washed.