London's Big Ben to go quiet for "several months" for repairs

The pendulum will be removed at some point over the next three years

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A general view of Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at the House of Commons in London | Image: Philip Toscano / PA Wire/Press Association Images

London's Big Ben is to fall silent, while the tower which houses the bell is revamped at a cost of stg£29m (€37.4m).

The famous clock has been operating for more than 150 years, but needs to be stopped so key parts can be renewed.

The building - officially called the Elizabeth Tower - will have urgent repairs next year to conserve it, and make it safe for visitors.

Extensive conservation work was last carried out on the tower more than 30 years ago and it is now seeing issues "common in buildings of a similar age".

Work will begin on the tower in early 2017 and experts say in order to maintain the accuracy of the clock, the pendulum will be removed at some point within the three-year period so repairs can take place.

A British House of Commons spokeswoman said: "The clock mechanism will need to be stopped for several months in order to carry out essential maintenance".

"During this period there will be no chimes".

"We are also investigating whether or not the chiming will have an effect on operatives working at high level, which will need to be taken into consideration".

"Striking and tolling will be maintained for important events".

The 11-floor tower, which stands at the north end of Britain's Houses of Parliament, was completed in 1859 and the clock started on May 31st.

The bell strikes were heard for the first time on July 11th, and the quarter bells first chimed on September 7th that year.