London's Big Ben to fall silent for facelift
LONDON: The famous Big Ben Tower in London on Friday closed its doors to visitors for a three-year renovation project, the media reported.
Starting early in 2017, the work will include repairs to the hands, mechanism and pendulum of the clock, as well as the waterproofing, masonry and metalwork of the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben bell.
The bell will be silenced for the first time since 2007 and the clock faces will be covered, reported the Evening Standard newspaper.
At least one face is intended to remain visible at any time and the Big Ben bell will toll for important events like New Year's Eve or Remembrance Day.
Alterations will include the installation of a lift and upgrades to bring the 157-year-old tower in line with modern health and safety standards.
With more than 30 years having passed since its last significant conservation work in 1983-85, the mechanism of the clock is in a "chronic state", with fears that it may fail if work is not carried out urgently, parliamentary officials said
The erection of scaffolding will begin early in 2017 and is expected to take four to six months to complete.
The clock dials and hands will be removed in succession for repairs and maintenance during which the clock mechanism will be stopped.