Big Ben to chime for first time in three months

But don't set your watch by it...


The chimes of Big Ben will ring out around Westminster for the first time in almost three months.

See also: Big Ben to go silent for longest period in history

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But politicians and tourists in the area have been advised not to set their watches by the famous bongs as parliamentary authorities expect "slight inaccuracies" following its 11-week break for essential conservation work.

After the resumption of chimes at 9am, Palace of Westminster clockmakers will work through the day adjusting the bells to ensure they strike at exactly the right time for Armistice Day commemorations at the 11th hour of November 11, followed by Remembrance Sunday events the following day.

The bells will be disconnected after ringing the hour at 1pm on Sunday November 12.

When Big Ben was halted on August 21 for works lasting four years on the Elizabeth Tower, it was made clear it would be restarted for important national events.

Big Ben
Onlookers gathered outside the Palace of Westminster on August 21 as Big Ben's bongs rang out for the last time before renovation work began (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Its chimes are then due to resume on December 23 for the Christmas period, falling silent again at 1pm on January 1.

Maintenance work will cease for the holidays, meaning there is no threat to workers' hearing from the volume of the bongs.

On other occasions when the chimes restart, work will be confined to lower, and quieter, levels of the tower.

Cost of repairing Elizabeth Tower
(PA Graphics)

The Elizabeth Tower, which holds the famous bell, is surrounded by scaffolding, but at least one clock face will always be kept visible while repair work and maintenance is carried out on dials and hands of the others.

A Channel 4 documentary crew has been allowed behind the scenes as work on the 158-year-old tower continues.

The programme, Big Ben: Saving the World's Most Famous Clock, will be broadcast on Sunday November 12 at 9pm.

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