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London Big Ben will ring in its 160th birthday year
London’s Big Ben
London, Dec 22 : London’s Big Ben will chime at midnight on New Year’s Eve with its iconic big bongs, British Parliament confirmed Friday.
The coming new year will herald the 160th anniversary of the year one of the world’s best known clocks started keeping time for the nation.
At midnight exactly, Big Ben will ring 12 times, replicating the usual strike rate of 4.5 seconds. To make this possible, a bespoke electric mechanism has been built to power the 200kg striking hammer.
The Elizabeth Tower, the formal name for the clock tower, is currently undergoing a complex conservation program to safeguard the 159-year-old iconic clock for generations to come.
As one of London’s most photographed attractions, the clock tower is now clad in scaffolding, with its clock hands and the 159-year-old clock mechanism completely disconnected and dismantled for the first time.
It is part of a specialist task to restore the historic building to its former glory. Experts from around Britain are involved in the huge task of restoring the landmark, combining ancient craftsmanship with cutting edge modern techniques.
“This is the most significant restoration of the Elizabeth Tower in its entire history, with many challenges and complexities emerging since the project began,” said principal architect Adam Watrobski.
According to Watrobski, the first newly painted clock dial will be revealed next year.
Measuring 2.7m across and 2.2m high, the 13.7-tonne bell could produce musical note E when struck and will be test rung on a number of occasions ahead of the New Year celebration.