Speed Reads

goodbye for now

London's Big Ben to fall silent as it undergoes repairs

Nearly every hour for the better part of the last 157 years, Big Ben's bongs could be heard around London. But after one last ring at noon local time next Monday, the bell will fall silent for the next four years as the Victorian-era timepiece undergoes much-needed repairs.

The Keeper of the Clock explained that the clock needs to be "dismantled piece by piece with each cog examined and restored" to assess an issue with the clock that rings the bell. While they're at it, the glass faces of the dials will be cleaned, the cast iron framework and the clock's hands will be restored, and an elevator will be added to the clock tower.

The complete renovation is projected to cost $40 million. The tower will be encased in scaffolding during construction, but one of the four clock faces will remain uncovered, a small consolation to Londoners unhappy about saying goodbye for now to the clock's hourly bongs.