London’s Big Ben will emerge from its silence for the New Year, a few months before recovering its original mechanism after four years of work. On the night of December 31, the famous 13.7-ton bell will ring the traditional twelve strokes of midnight to welcome the new year. Big Ben is the nickname given to the huge bell on the British Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower
This will be the last time Big Ben will ring the bell using a temporary mechanism, parliamentary services said. Starting in the spring, the original mechanism, which dates back to Victorian times, will be brought back into operation and Big Ben will begin to chime as the day progresses, for the first time since restoration work began in 2017.
It’s probably the most famous clock in the world, and to have had all the nuts and bolts in our hands is a great privilege.Ian Westworth, Parliament’s clockwork team
The Elizabeth Tower, completed in 1859, is being restored, and Britons only hear Big Ben echo on rare occasions. The tower survived World War II bombings but was damaged by Nazi air raids in May 1941. “It will be quite poignant when it’s all over, there will be sadness that the project is finished, but joy that we’ve restored it and it’s all working again,” said Wentworth in a statement.
According to the Times of India, the neo-Gothic style clock tower was designed by Augustus Pugin, and completed in May 31, 1859. The clock now has hour hands that are made of gun metal, weighing all of 300 kg. This makes it more than 300-times heavier than the minute hands.
The fireworks display that brings together some 100,000 people every New Year’s Eve in central London on the banks of the Thames was cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.