10:40:40 PM

Big Ben Renovation

The regular sound of Big Ben chimes stopped, midday on 21 August 2017, before the start of repair work expected to last a few years.

Missing the bongs? Play them online: sound page.

The Journey of Big Ben

Big Ben was placed on a trolley and pulled along by sixteen horses, in the cheers of crowds lining the streets between Whitechapel in East London and Westminster, in the very heart of UK’s capital city.

The bell was so wide that once it arrived, it had to be turned on its side to be pulled up the tower. It took a team of men thirty hours to winch the behemoth bell up into the belfry. But that is not the end of the story.

The Bell cracked just three months in. For four years it sat silently in the Tower while the smaller bells chimed the hours away.

Then the hammer was changed, the crack was prevented from spreading and the Bell was rotated by a fractional amount. Big Ben was ready to sing out once more.

But the crack has left a lasting impression and gives the Bell its off-key, unique sound to this day.

Go to the Big Ben Sound section and play with the chimes and the hour signal, instantly recognisable not just in London and the UK, but all over the world.

Domine Salvam fac Regina nostrum Victoriam primam