The Big Ben bell in the iconic clock tower at the British parliament in London rang again on Saturday on the occasion of Christmas despite delays due to long-term repairs.
The bell, which gives the misnomer Big Ben to parliament’s Elizabeth Tower, will be used until it rings in the New Year and then fall silent except for other special occasions.
Steve Jaggs, the clock keeper, said: “The joyful striking of Big Ben will ring in the festive season for Londoners, visitors and the millions of viewers, who use it as a focal point to celebrate the New Year.”
Big Ben has been mostly silent since August under parliament’s four-year, £61mn ($80mn) refurbishment program. It was used for several days last month during ceremonies marking the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“As Keeper of the Great Clock, my team of clock makers and I have the great honor of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering remains an accurate time piece on a daily basis,” Jaggs said.
“This essential program of works will safeguard it for future generations, as well as protecting and conserving the Elizabeth Tower,” he added.
Repairs to the 160-year-old, 96m tower include adjusting the clock to fix problems that cannot be rectified whilst the clock is in action, parliament said earlier.
Before the recent repairs, Big Ben had rung every quarter hour, almost without interruption, for 157 years. The 13.7-ton bell was briefly silent during renovation work in 2007, and before that between 1983 and 1985.