The Big Ben goes silent

For the next four years the Big Ben will be silent. A restoration project will silence the Big Ben, which has marked the passage of time since the Victorian era. Crowds gathered around to hear its final set of bongs. The Big Ben is a constant presence in London daily life and all around the world as the broadcaster BBC uses the sound in two news bulletins each day. During World War II the sound of Big Ben gave hope to the troops and lifted the morale.

The restoration work comes in a time of upheavals with Brexit still going on. During the work the big clock will be dismantled piece by piece. Each cog will be examined and restored. That process alone is expected to take about two years. Some people were angry that the important landmark of London will be silent for so long. However, the process of starting and stopping the mechanism takes half a day. Furthermore, the clock is so loud it could permanently damage the workers hearing.

But there will be a temporary solution to allow the clock to chime on New Year´s Eve. And the main bell will be left alone despite a few cracks. Apparently those cracks are what give it its distinctive sound. But the tower itself, the clock mechanism and the faces show signs of aging. The metalwork is rusting, the roof is leaking and the masonry is cracking. The Big Ben was opened in 1859. This will be the fourth time the Big Ben fell silent due to maintenance.

silent (ˈsaɪlənt) – still, ruhig

restoration (ˌrestərˈʃən) – die Restaurierung

to mark (mɑ:k) – etw kennzeichnen, markieren

passage (ˈpæsɪʤ) – das Voranschreiten

crowd (krd) – die Zuschauermenge, (Menschen)menge

to gather (ˈgæðəʳ) – sich versammeln

news bulletin (nju:z ˈbʊlətɪn) – die Nachrichten

upheaval (ʌpˈhi:vəl) – der Aufruhr

to dismantle (dɪsˈmænt) – etw zerlegen, demontieren

to examine (ɪgˈzæmɪn) – etw prüfen, untersuchen

to restore (rɪˈstɔ:ʳ) – etw wiederherstellen

landmark (lænd mɑ:k) – das Wahrzeichen

permanently (ˈpɜ:mənəntli) – standing, immer

temporary (ˈtempərəri) – zeitweilig, vorübergehend

solution (səˈlu:ʃən) – die Lösung

despite (dɪˈspt) – trotz

apparently (əˈpærəntli) – hier: anscheinend

distinctive (dɪˈstɪŋ(k)tɪv) – charakteristisch, unverwechselbar

face (fs) – hier: das Ziffernblatt

to rust (rʌst) – rosten

to leak (li:k) – lecken, undicht sein

masonry (ˈmsənri) – das Mauerwerk

maintenance (ˈmntənən(t)s) – die Wartung, Instandhaltung