London

Big Ben clock tower hands removed for maintenance

Elizabeth Tower Image copyright UK Parliament/Mark Duffy
Image caption The hands are missing as essential conservation work continues

The clock hands of Elizabeth Tower have been removed during maintenance and restoration work in the Palace of Westminster.

The tower is undergoing a £61m refurbishment, up from the original estimate of between £29m and £45m.

The clock hands will be replaced with temporary ones while the originals undergo conservation work.

The London landmark chimed for the last time in August and will not sound until 2021.

The only exceptions will be on New Year and Remembrance Sunday.

Work to the clock dials includes repairing the glass and metalwork.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Clock dial work includes repairing the glass and metalwork
Image copyright UK Parliament/Mark Duffy
Image caption Big Ben, housed in Elizabeth Tower, will only chime on New Year and Remembrance Sunday until 2021
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are "unique challenges" in working on a historic site, Parliament said
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The news that Big Ben will not chime until 2021 prompted criticism from Theresa May and other MPs

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