Set in the famous Elizabeth Tower, the Big Ben bell has been silent for much of the last four years. Brits are hoping that the bell will once again ring out for the start of 2022 on New Year’s Eve
Image: Getty Images)
As one of the UK’s most iconic sounds, people will be hoping for Big Ben’s bongs to strike again for the New Year.
As well as its general use, the iconic bell sound is used symbolically for a range of events, including New Year celebrations, Remembrance Sunday and signalling the closing of polls on the day of a general election at 10pm.
The clock and bell have been hidden away behind scaffolding for four years after restoration work on the London monument began in 2017.
Recently, the repainted clock faces have been revealed from behind their metal covering as Brits once again have the chance to look upon the country’s most famous time-keeping device.
Since work got underway, the bell has only rung on a few select occasions. It was reconnected to ring for the moment the UK left the European Union and for this year’s services of remembrance in November.
So will Big Ben’s chimes ring for the New Year?
Will Big Ben bong for the New Year?
The good news is that Big Ben’s renowned bongs will ring in the New Year, to introduce the UK to the unknown world of promise that lies ahead in 2022.
Those who have worked on the clock tower and bell, known officially as the Elizabeth Tower, hope that the clock will symbolise a new start.
The bell will also be heard in the run-up to the celebrations as engineers test it to make sure nothing goes wrong at the big moment.
Ian Westworth, one of Parliament’s team of clock mechanics, told ITV : “It’s iconic – it’s probably the world’s most famous clock, and to have had our hands on every single nut and bolt is a huge privilege.
“It’s going to be quite emotional when it’s all over – there will be sadness that the project has finished, but happiness that we have got it back and everything’s up and running again.”
On New Year’s Eve, the bell will be struck using a temporary mechanism instead of the grand Victorian design that usually helps the bell ring.
The old mechanism, which weighs over 11 tonnes, was removed for cleaning and repair. It was also taken out to avoid damage from dust and debris as scaffolding works went up.
Why is it called Big Ben?
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Big Ben refers to the bell, not the clock or tower itself, contrary to popular belief that the entire structure has that monicker.
The origin of the famous name is not officially known, but it is believed it may refer to Sir Benjamin Hall, a large, Welsh engineer who oversaw the installation of the bell and much of the repairs of the Houses of Parliament.
Another origin story theory also exists, according to Visit London : “The second theory is that it was named after a heavyweight boxing champion at that time, Benjamin Caunt. Also known as “Big Ben”, this nickname was commonly bestowed in society to anything that was the heaviest in its class.”
Big Ben and the four quarters bells will sound out regularly from spring 2022 as work continues.