British icon Big Ben, known for its booming bongs, will stand quiet until 2021 as it undergoes planned restoration, according to The Guardian. It rang its last bell on Monday.
The decision to silence the landmark didn’t come lightly, but ultimately workers’ safety won out: They’d go deaf if the bell was allowed to ring while they made the renovations, House of Commons officials said.
A large group turned out on Monday to witness and hear Ben’s last bong before its hiatus. Many onlookers were visibly moved, including Labour MP Stephen Pound, who shed a tear as the bell made its parting peal.
“Bong-o gone-o, that’s so wrong-o,” Pound told reporters as he arrived in the courtyard. As the final bell rang, Pound called the sound “misery in the key of E”.
He then expressed a hearty dose of British skepticism, presumably when a reporter tried to comfort him with the fact that Big Ben would bong again in just four years, and that it still will ring on certain holidays and events in the meantime. (This guy is a quote machine, btw.)
Pound said he doubted that the chimes would return on schedule in 2021. “They’re not going to be back in four years. Have you ever known any government project come in on time or on budget?” he said.
If you, like Pound, can’t wait four years to hear the bell toll, you can get your fix from the unofficial Big Ben Twitter account, which has been going strong since 2009:
BONG BONG BONG
— Big Ben (@big_ben_clock) August 22, 2017