Big Ben Gets His Buffers Buffed

By Rob Last edited 215 months ago
Big Ben Gets His Buffers Buffed
Big Ben Clocktower.jpg

Big Ben will fall silent this weekend as maintenance is carried out on The Great Westminster Clock.

For the longest time in 22 years not a bong will be heard as the clock is stopped from around 9am tomorrow morning to around 4pm on Sunday.

During that time a crack team of specialist engineers will examine the clock, while workers from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry ("the world's most famous bell foundry") will set about replacing the rubber hammer buffers on three of the four quarter bells, the Westminster chimes, and on 13-ton Big Ben himself.

The work is all part of a new maintenance regime which means the clock will be inspected every five years to ensure accuracy.

The clock has been late in the past of course: snow accumulation caused the clock to ring in the new year 10 minutes late in 1962 (the ensuing damage to the time-space continuum is thought to be the reason that the you have to wait so long for a DLR train on Sundays).

And on April 30, 1997, the day before that general election the clock stopped again... but that was probably Uri Geller's fault.

If anyone fancies going down to Westminster Square en masse this weekend and replacing the missing chimes with a collective shout of BONG every hour on the hour, then do get in touch.

Last Updated 28 October 2005