Saving the bongs: Big Ben to fall silent while under repair

  • AP, London
  • Updated: Oct 18, 2015 21:02 IST
In this file photo, workers abseil outside the clock face as they clean Big Ben's clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. According to reports, the chimes of Big Ben may fall silent for many months as urgent repairs are carried out to the clock and the tower, which must begin as soon as possible. (AP Photo)

Big Ben’s bongs may fall silent for months or even years as urgent repairs are carried out.

Two of Britain’s largest newspapers reported on Sunday that Parliament’s massive clock and the tower that supports it need as much as 40 million pounds ($61.7 million) in repairs -- work that will silence the famous bell, Big Ben.

The Sunday Times, citing a Westminster source, says the clock is so dilapidated it may grind to a halt. The Mail on Sunday suggested the clock’s hands could fall off without urgent action.

Behind the neo-Gothic splendour of Big Ben, Britain's Houses of Parliament is crumbling. (AFP File Photo)

The Times says repairs to the Elizabeth Tower must begin as soon as possible and can’t wait for the 7 billion pound ($10.8 billion) restoration of the entire Palace of Westminster that is scheduled to begin at the end of the decade.

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