Heard Big Ben Chiming This Week? This Is Why

Heard Big Ben Chiming This Week? This Is Why
Photo: James Newcombe/Unsplash

If you've been in Westminster this week, you may have heard Big Ben chiming.

Nothing unusual there — except of course there is, because the Elizabeth Tower has been under scaffolding for some time now, with Big Ben's chimes silenced since 2018 as restoration work goes on.

Elizabeth Tower on Remembrance Sunday 2016. Photo: UK Parliament

So why were the bells chiming this week? While restoration work isn't finished quite yet, the team in charge of the famous bongs were testing them ahead of Remembrance Sunday, when Big Ben will officially chime to mark the occasion.

Big Ben will strike 11 times to commence the start of the two-minute silence at 11am on 14 November.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the bell of Big Ben has rung since a special one-off chime to see in the New Year, so it's no surprise the clock mechanics need a bit of rehearsal time to ensure things are in tune and on time.

The bell will strike using a temporary striking mechanism, as the Victorian clock mechanism is temporarily out of use.

No confirmation yet whether Big Ben will chime on New Year's Eve to see in 2022, but given that the renovation work is due to be complete in early 2022, we're hopeful that we'll hear it as we reach midnight.

Last Updated 12 November 2021

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