Great Clock stoppages

The 2007 stoppage was the longest suspension of the hour strike (Big Ben) since 1990. The clock mechanism was also suspended for two days in October 2005 to allow inspection of the brake shaft. Previous stoppages of both the hour and quarter bells took place in 1934 (two months) and 1956 (six months).

Over the years, the clock has been stopped accidentally on several occasions - by weather, workmen, breakages or birds. The most serious breakdown occurred during the night of 10 August 1976 when part of the chiming mechanism disintegrated through metal fatigue. It caused a great deal of damage and fortunately no-one was hurt. The Great Clock was shut down for a total of 26 days over nine months - the longest break in operations since it was built - until it was fully repaired.