Thursday 18 April 2024
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Speaker helps put Big Ben back one hour for GMT

Britain’s most famous clock – Big Ben – will be among 2,000 timepieces across Parliament to be changed this weekend – putting the UK back to Greenwich Mean Time.

While the nation looks forward to an extra hour in bed on Sunday – Parliament’s clockmakers will be embarking on a 24-hour mission to ensure politics keeps to time.

It will be the first time Big Ben will be put back since the scaffolding came down from the Elizabeth Tower following a five-year restoration project.

UK Parliament Jessica Taylor 3 scaled
©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the clock change ‘will herald a new beginning’ for the iconic London landmark.

‘While the rest of us are tucked up in our beds, our own father time, Ian Westworth and the team will be clocking up eight miles changing our parliamentary clocks, including the one we love the most – the Great Clock of Westminster – better known as Big Ben.

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UK Parliament Jessica Taylor scaled
©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

‘For the first time in five years, they will be working with the clock’s completed original, Victorian mechanism, so it is a significant final moment in the conservation of this magnificent timepiece.

‘Big Ben’s bongs will once again return to our national soundtrack on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, striking 11 times to mark the start of the two minutes’ silence.’

Members of the public will only be aware that the Great Clock is being changed to GMT when the lights go out on its four dial faces at 10pm on Saturday evening.

‘This is so people looking up do not wonder why the hands are going round and get confused,’ said parliamentary clock mechanic, Alex Jeffrey, 35.

‘Under the cover of darkness, we effectively stop the clock and hold it for two hours, only restarting it again at midnight and putting the dial lights back on at 2am when it is officially GMT.’

  •  When do the clocks change?

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