Big Ben, an integral part of the Palace of Westminster's iconic clock tower, will fall silent for the first time since 2007 as conservation work kicks off later this month, it was announced on Monday 14 August.
The House of Commons authorities said the 13.7 tonne bell will not be struck regularly again until 2021 to ensure the safety of those working in The Elizabeth Tower and on the three-year-long £29m renovation project.
The Great Bell, which strikes every hour to the note of E and provides the background beat to British politics, was last silenced in 2007, and prior to that between 1983-95 as part of a previous large scale refurbishment.
"Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. As Keeper of the Great Clock I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis," said Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock.
"This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower. Members of the public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben's final bongs until they return in 2021."
But the Commons authorities said the UK Parliament's specialist clockmakers will ensure that Big Ben, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, can still bong for important national events such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.