00:11 GMT13 July 2020
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    The iconic London bell housed in the Elizabeth Tower looming over Britain's Houses of Parliament in Westminster will soon chime again after remaining silent since a four-year renovation of the building began in August. However, authorities warn that its timing might be a bit off-kilter.

    The refurbishment of the 96-metre, 160-year-old tower has been underway since August and is set to continue for four years. When the renovation works began, Big Ben was switched off to ensure the safety of workers.

    Hundreds of people stood in silence along Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square on August 22 to observe the grand bell's final bongs, breaking into applause once it ringing. 

    The clock had been silenced in the past, but never for such a long period of time. The last significant repair took place in 1983-85. The clock was also muted for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral in 2013.

    Apart from repairing and redecorating the interior of the building, the current renovation project includes restoring the clock face's surrounds to their original colours as designed by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin.

    But Big Ben will chime again on upcoming special occasions, including Armistice Day on November 11, Remembrance Sunday the following day, and throughout the Christmas holiday season.

    Londoners are used to the tower's chimes sounding daily on the radio, often before news bulletins and in the run-up to important announcements. Many residents set their watches by the bells, but Parliamentary authorities cautioned that there could be "slight inaccuracies" after an 11-week break.

    "It has always been the intention throughout the Elizabeth Tower conservation works for Big Ben to ring out for important national events, and whenever we safely can without disruption to the refurbishment project," the UK Parliament said in a statement.


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