London’s iconic clock tower is soon to fall silent for four years, the longest period of silence in Big Ben’s 157-year history.
The clock strikes every hour on the hour to the note of E, with four smaller bells chiming every 15 minutes.
The stoppage of the chimes is part of a “crucial conservation project”, according to the keeper of the great clock of Westminster, Steve Jaggs.
On Monday, August 21 at noon, the clock will make its last bong before the conservation works are carried out. The Great Bell’s striking will be paused until 2021 to ensure the safety of those working in the tower.
According to the UK Parliament, Jaggs said the essential program 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,” he said.
The last time the bells fell silent was for maintenance in 2007, and prior to that from 1983 to 1985.
The clock will still tell the time silently, but the bell’s striking hammers will be locked and the bell disconnected from the clock mechanism.
During the four-year period, it is reported the bells will still bong for important national events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.
Big Ben is one of the most accurate clocks in the world and the BBC use the chime noises in their broadcasts.
This article originally appeared on Starts at 60.