Big Ben stops for second time in a week

Big Ben has had issues keeping time since its refurbishment  (Getty Images)
Big Ben has had issues keeping time since its refurbishment (Getty Images)

London’s iconic Big Ben clock has stopped ticking for a second time in a week, just months after its multi-million dollar makeover.

Hands on all four dials of the Great Clock on the Elizabeth Tower froze for around half an hour at 9am on Wednesday, according to the Telegraph.

That’s despite the same problem occuring the Wednesday prior just before 1pm, with the bell failing to chime on the hour.

The 96-metre-tall clock at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster had just been given an £80 million facelift that took five years, using taxpayer’s money.

Sources told the Telegraph that the stoppages were down to a “bedding in” process following the refurbishment.

The 13-tonne Big Ben bell was largely silenced for five years while under major restoration, with the ‘bongs’ finally returning in November last year.

Last Wednesday the clock stopped at 12.55pm, leaving the bells silent at 1pm.

Half an hour later, the clock hands were moved forward but the clock was still running about five minutes late, according to witnesses.

By 1.47pm, the hands were moved forward again to show the right time.

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “We are aware that the clock dials on the Elizabeth Tower were temporarily displaying the incorrect time on Wednesday afternoon.

“Clock mechanics worked quickly to rectify the issue and the clock is now functioning as normal.”

The renovation period marked the longest period of silence in the landmark’s 165-year history.

The clock was largely concealed by scaffolding while the works were carried out, disappointing many tourists.

The works, designed to restore the original vision by Parliament’s architects Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin, unveiled a row of six shields above each dial that displays a St George’s red cross on a white background.

The UK Parliament describes the clock as “probably the world’s most famous clock”.

Six monarchs and 41 prime ministers have come and gone since the bells first struck across Westminster.

The iconic structure is one of the most Instagrammed landmarks globally, and in 2022 it was the second most Googled landmark in the world.

It is often used to mark historic occassions in Britain, including being lit in a floral design for the King’s coronation and striking 11 times to mark the start of two minutes’ silence on Remembrance Sunday.