London big ben

A Christmas Carol Shortly after showing Ebenezer Scrooge the joys of the holiday season and the poor living conditions of his underpaid clerk Bob Cratchitthe Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge inside Big Ben and shows him the evils of Ignorance and Wantspecifically in what peril poor people will end up in should Scrooge not change his ways. During this segment, Ignorance grows up to be a ruthless thug who ends up behind bars. Want grows up to become a cackling hag who is thrown into an asylum.

London big ben

Last Updated Aug 14, 3: The bongs of the iconic bell will be stopped on Aug. Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said Monday that the mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired.

Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded inbut the current restoration project will mark the longest period of silence for the bell. It will still sound on big occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday. Jaggs said last year when the renovation plans were announced that it couldn't wait much longer.

The huge clock will be stopped for several months so that Parliament's clockmakers can work on the foot pendulum and remove the hands from each of the four faces. It became a symbol of defiance when it survived German bombing raids during World War II -- though one of the four clock faces was blown out.

The tower is popularly known as Big Ben, though that is actually the name of the largest of its five bells. The four smaller bells chime the quarter hours, while Big Ben bongs out the hour. The sound of the bongs became associated with Britain around the world during wartime BBC news broadcasts, and is still played live each day on BBC radio through a microphone in the belfry.

The repair work will use traditional methods and materials as much as possible, but a couple of modernizations are planned. The 28 lightbulbs behind each clock face will be replaced with energy efficient LED bulbs that can change color, so the clock tower can be tinted to mark major celebrations or commemorations.

And there are plans to install an elevator in a ventilation shaft. Currently the only way to the belfry is up a step circular staircase. The tower repairs are only a small part of the work that needs to be done to shore up a Parliament complex beset by damp and decay.

Jaggs said that even if the rest of the building is empty and under scaffolding, the tower "will still be a beacon of democracy around the world.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.Fears over the long-term stability of Big Ben have been raised because it is beginning to tilt to one side.

The top of the clock tower is leaning one-and-a-half feet off a level position. HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT and BIG BEN The Palace of Westminster.

London big ben

The Palace of Westminster, better known today as the Houses of Parliament, is the oldest royal palace in London, a world heritage site and one of most recognised buildings in the world. Explore the Clock Tower (left) with your mouse. We've hidden loads of facts and figures, but you'll have to find them for yourself!

GFAQs* (*Guy Fox-Answered Questions). London sightseeing is fun. When sightseeing in London, take London sightseeing tours, a London sightseeing bus or use a London sightseeing map. Allow us to wow you at our Park Plaza London Riverbank hotel near Big Ben.

Enjoy our many amenities, including free Wi-Fi and more. Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

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