The chimes of Big Ben will be heard for the first time in almost three months when Parliament’s historic bell is reconnected this morning, ahead of Armistice Day.
After the resumption of chimes at 9am, Palace of Westminster clockmakers will work through the day adjusting the bells to ensure they strike at exactly the right time for Armistice Day commemorations at the 11th hour of the 11th month, followed by Remembrance Sunday events the following day.
But people in Westminster are advised not to set their watches by the famous bongs, as parliamentary authorities expect slight inaccuracies following its 11-week break.
It comes after the Sunday Telegraph revealed that parliamentary authorities ruled out allowing Big Ben’s clock to chime at evenings and weekends because it would have involved mechanics working overtime.
Emails show that officials conceded it would be straightforward to activate the bell when builders left the site each day while the landmark is renovated.
But the arrangement would mean a minimum of 2-3 hours for the clock’s mechanics which might well not be sustainable over several months, they concluded.
The decision to silence the clock led to demands for the bell to ring when builders are off site such as in the evenings, early mornings and at weekends.
But according to correspondence obtained by this newspaper, officials decided against such a move because of concerns about the overtime work that would be required by clock mechanics in order to switch the bell off in the morning and then on again when the builders left each afternoon.