BIG Ben has just chimed for the first time since the New Year.
London’s famous bell rang shortly after 8pm as a test ahead of Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.
Big Ben was silenced in August last year at the start of a four-year plan to restore Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower.
MP Stephen Pound, who tried to block the move, was in Parliament to hear the chimes.
The Ealing North MP, who wiped away a tear as Big Ben was muted last year, said: “Remembrance Sunday is a solemn occasion and the sonorous sound of the bells will certainly add to the sense of occasion.”
He added: “I salute the courage of the bell master who agreed to let this happen and let the chimes of freedom ring out again over the city.”
The Elizabeth Tower, home to the Great Clock and the Great Bell – known as Big Ben – is undergoing a complex programme of conservation works to safeguard it for generations to come.
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Parliament’s team of clock mechanics temporarily disconnected Big Ben and the quarter bells from the clock mechanism and lowered the weights to the base of the tower in order to provide a safe environment for the people working in the Elizabeth Tower.
A bespoke electric mechanism has been built to power the 200kg striking hammer in order to ensure the Great Bell can mark Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.
Only the Great Bell – Big Ben – will strike. The quarter bells will not chime.