Big Ben clock stops as hands freeze at 9am

The Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament
The clock face on the Elizabeth Tower was stuck at 9am for about an hour on Wednesday - andy lane/Alamy Stock Photo

The Big Ben clock stopped on Wednesday morning with the hands stuck at 9am and the wrong number of bongs sounded.

The Elizabeth Tower clock appeared to stop for about an hour, before showing the correct time again at about 10:15am. Big Ben’s bongs sounded 11am at 10:06am despite the hands of at least two of the clock faces showing 9am.

A spokesman for the House of Commons said that the dials were “temporarily displaying the wrong time” but said that “no risks to the integrity of the mechanism had been identified”.

They added that teams “worked quickly to rectify the issue and carried out servicing to the mechanism, which has now completed”.

Sources said that occasional stoppages are part of the “bedding in” process for the clock, as parts of the mechanism wear in.

Hourly strikes of the bells are set to resume at midday on Wednesday as a result of a resetting of the process after the malfunction.

Big Ben was silenced in August 2017 for four years, with the cost of the original work estimated to be £29 million. But the work was delayed, finally finishing in 2022. The clock stopped working twice in one week last July, a year after the completion of the £80 million Elizabeth Tower refurbishment project.