The UK Parliament is pleased to announce that, despite ongoing essential conservation works, the Elizabeth Tower’s world famous Great Bell (Big Ben) will strike on Sunday 11 November to commemorate those that died in the two world wars and later conflicts.
At precisely 11:00hrs Big Ben will sound 11 times, with a strike rate of 4.5 seconds, replicating the usual strike rate of the Great Clock. At 12:30hrs Big Ben will strike a further 11 times, joining bells across the UK and worldwide to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice as part of the UK government's programme for bells to ring out in thanksgiving for the end of the war one hundred years ago*. Only Big Ben itself will strike, not the quarter bells which usually produce the 16 musical notes of the Westminster Chimes.
The Elizabeth Tower is currently undergoing a complex programme of conservation works to safeguard the 159-year-old iconic clock for generations to come. The Great Bell’s world famous chimes have been silenced to ensure the safety of those working in the Tower. In August 2017, Parliament’s expert team of clock mechanics disconnected Big Ben and the quarter bells from the clock mechanism and lowered the weights to the base of the tower. These were reconnected to announce New Year 2018, but since then the entire clock mechanism has been removed and is undergoing extensive conservation and renovation work.
Parliament has committed to ensuring Big Ben can still sound for important national events, such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. To make this possible, a bespoke electric mechanism has been built to power the original 200kg striking hammer.
Further details about Big Ben, including historical information and a Q&A about the conservation project is available on our website.
*Read more on the DCMS website.