Big Ben bongs for final time as restoration plan begins

After the twelve loud chimes at midday Monday, London’s iconic Big Ben, the bell that marks time in the clock over the Houses of Parliament, fell quiet.

The bongs have been silenced as part of a controversial renovation plan of Elizabeth Tower, which houses the clock. Authorities in the House of Commons said it would not be safe for contractors to work so close to a loud bell.

It will be the longest break since the bells of Big Ben were installed in 1859.

The silence will be broken on special occasions — the bells will still ring on December 31 each year to herald the New Year.

UK lawmakers and their staff gathered to listen as the Great Bell — the official name for Big Ben — struck noon, clapping after the last chime.

After pressure from some traditionalist MPs, and Prime Minister Theresa May, parliamentary authorities last week said they would review the plan.