Big Ben may not be silent after all

MPs have called for a review into whether Big Ben should remain silent for four years as it is refurbished.

The giant bell at the centre of the Elizabeth Tower’s Great Clock was due to cease ringing next Monday to allow work to take place.

But officials are now being asked to look at the cost and practical implications of ringing the Great Bell more often than currently planned.

As it stands, it will only be allowed to chime on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve.

The 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower, believed to be the country’s most photographed building, is already half enveloped in scaffolding as part of the renovation.

While construction workers must be protected from the noise of the regular chimes, it looks like Big Ben might not be silent for as long as we thought.

Hilary Meredith