Recently, hundreds to have gathered in and around the Palace of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower were left with silences because they could not hear the “Note E” which repeats each quarter past, half past, and on the hour.
Big Ben figures in many walking tours of London, and for a solid reason. However, you might have to be ready for silence and the partial view of Big Ben for the next four years from now. The Parliamentary authorities have decided to put a pause to “Note E” and renovate the Tower until 2021. Although renovation will commence this year, the authorities say one face of Big Ben will be visible to tourists and Londoners.
Besides, the Brits expect the Big Ben to stay fully operative on New Year’s Eve and on the Remembrance Sunday as promised by the Parliament authorities. In fact, it was BBC Radio, which broadcasted the Big Ben’s chimes nationwide on the New Year’s Eve of 1923.
Big Ben chimed for the first time in July 11, 1859. In 2007, for a few weeks, there was maintenance done on the Big Ben, and on August 1976, the mechanical clockwork had broken down for the first time in over 117 years.
It must be mentioned that the Big Ben stands around 2.2 meters tall and on a 90 odd meters tower amid all that makes walking tours of London such a thing to behold. When in Westminster Abbey, Big Ben can be seen from afar and in the precincts of Elizabeth Tower and Palace of Westminster reside London Eye and the northern banks of the Thames River as well.
Edmund Beckett Denison is the chief architect behind the mechanical clockwork and the chimes. The Big Ben chimes for one-sixth of a second once the bell strikes Note E.
Big Ben comprises of 312 sections of opal glass, and a pendulum that stays isolated to external forces such as the wind on the hourly hands of Big Ben. Each clock dial lightens up by energy-efficient bulbs and each bulb lasts 6000 hours.
Onlookers can tell when parliament is in house by looking at the clock’s face since above the Big Ben the Aryan Light illuminates. Apparently, Big Ben’s chimes illustrate the distinction between the speed of light as well as sound. At times, Londoners refer the Elizabeth Tower and Clock combined as Big Ben.