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London Kerfluffle over silent Big Ben


Britain's political class is in a minor uproar over a famed tourist attraction that few people have ever see: Big Ben, which has been scheduled for silence for four years of construction on the Elizabeth Tower that houses it.

Most visitors to London, and not a few locals, think the  tower, at right above, is Big Ben, but the name refers to the  largest of the bells in the tower, the one whose striking of the hour is one of London's defining memories.

The bell is currently quiet to avoid shattering the eardrums of construction workers, and is rung only on special occasions. After public outcry, a large number of Members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, have called for more ringing when work is not underway. However, officials involved say it takes half a day to tie up or restore  the clapper that makes the sound.

But, they have said they will work on adding more occasions. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbin has another solution: Play the recorded ringing from loudspeakers until the bell is ready.

Top Image: Dedication of Big Ben, Illustrated News of the World, 12/4/1858
Photo of Houses of Parliament (Adrian Pingstone/Wikimedia)

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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