London is going to be a little quieter for the next four years. On August 21 at noon, Big Ben will bong for the final time until 2021. The iconic clock tower, which is officially known as the Elizabeth Tower, is going under renovations and restorations, according to BBC News.
Each one of Big Ben’s cogs are going to be dismantled, examined, and restored. The four dials are set to be cleaned and repaired, and the clock’s hands will be removed and restored. The renovations will also make the entire tower more energy-efficient.
While all of that work means Big Ben will be under the weather for the next few years, it definitely seems worth it. “This essential program of works will safeguard the clock on a long-term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home, the Elizabeth Tower,” the keeper of the clock Steve Jaggs told Reuters.
Even though you won’t be able to hear the clock chime, Big Ben will still be silently keeping time. At least one out of the tower’s four faces will tell the time no matter what. Instead of the traditional mechanics, it will be powered by an electronic clock.
This isn’t the first time Big Ben has fallen silent. According to BBC News, the tower most recently went quiet for renovations in 2007. It also had major refurbishments between 1983 and 1985.
Plus, this silence isn’t permanent. The tower’s bells will still chime for major holidays and events, like New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. So if you’re missing those iconic bongs, you can still hear them a few times a year.
If you want to tune in for the clock’s last chime for a while, BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting the moment when the bells fall silent. If you happen to be in London, Jaggs said a group of people will be gathering in Parliament Square for the tower’s final few bongs.
While the tower may be silent until 2021, it’s still a magnificent part of London’s skyline. After all, it’s one of the most photographed spots in the U.K. So even though you won’t be able to hear the clock chime, it will still make for a delightful Instagram post.