One of the most famous clocks in the world is getting back to work in time for the new year.
Big Ben last played regularly on August 21, 2017, before undergoing an intensive and much needed repair project.
The Cumbria Clock Company, located in the Lake District, England, has taken on the task of cleaning the clock face, chime mechanism and approximately 1,000 parts over the past four years.
The watch weighs about 5 tons and is just over 2 meters tall.
“Having our hands on every nut and bolt is a great privilege,” said Ian Westworth, one of Parliament’s watch mechanics, in a statement. “It’s going to be very exciting when it’s all over – there will be sadness that the project is over, but happiness that it’s back up and running.”
Although the name Big Ben these days refers to the entire clock tower, it’s actually the name of the largest bell inside the tower, used to chime the hours.
Big Ben — which sits inside the Elizabeth Tower in London’s Houses of Parliament — has been marking time in the UK capital since 1859. This is the largest repair project in its history, coming in at a price of £79.7 million (about $107 million).
Earlier this year, crew members working to repair Big Ben discovered extensive WWII damage caused by the bombing campaign in Nazi Germany. The damage, which was revealed only when artisans managed to disassemble the entire watch, increased the time and price of the renovation project, prompting some UK politicians to complain about the cost.
Despite the delays, the team working on Big Ben managed to complete repairs in 2021.
This news arrives at the right time. Today, New Year’s Eve, the clock will sound at noon, at 4 pm, at 9 pm, at 10 pm, at 11 pm and, of course, at midnight.
But there were some rehearsals along the way to make sure everything was working fine.
Some lucky locals may have caught some of these bongos during intermittent testing on December 29th and 30th.
Tonight, only the east face of the clock—the one facing the Thames—will be lit. But one of London’s most beloved attractions has returned to its rightful place.
This content was originally created in English.