It’s a sodding bell, nothing more:

Parliamentary authorities have performed a dramatic u-turn over the decision to silence Big Ben for four years following an intervention from the prime minister.

After coming under intense pressure, officials announced that the plan for Big Ben to remain silent until 2021 is now under review.

Still, good to see we’ve no real problems left as people must have dealt with everything else if they’ve time for this.

29 thoughts on “Idiots”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    The point that’s been missed in all this is that the planned works, including the silencing of Big Ben was reviewed and agreed by MPs. What it says a great deal about their ability to scrutinise legislation has completely passed the MSM by.

  2. The mechanism is being restored / rebuilt, but the hands will still work powered by an electric motor.

    The question is why was the bell being silenced… One news report suggested this was because of the work force, i.e. to protect sensitive ears.

  3. Flags, icons, bells(?) matter, especially during the next several years as we extricate ourselves from the hive mind. Without Big Ben, resistance will be futile.

  4. If you are working in the bell chamber for a couple of months it would be very tempting to silence the damned thing. The noise must be deafening every 15 minutes. I spent a week in an office building across from the old Swiss centre. I wanted to blow the clock up after about one day

  5. Further information for all those courageous people who have never worked up on scaffolding:

    https://www.shponline.co.uk/right-stop-big-ben-workers-hearing/

    Big Ben’s chimes have been measured at 118 decibels. This makes it louder than a hammer drill and the majority of regularly used construction and industrial equipment (see graph).

    Official guidance by the Health and Safety Executive states any regular exposure of more than a minute to sounds in excess of 110 decibels would cause permanent hearing loss. Big Ben easily falls into this category.

    There are probably are fair number of readers that are thinking: ‘Why not just buy some PPE and get the team to wear ear defenders on site?’

    Well, this question has indeed been answered by the restoration team.

    A spokesperson for the work told the Evening Standard that clock mechanics who work on Big Ben currently get ear defenders, but are exposed to the ringing bells for only short periods of time each week.

    “People will be working on the scaffolding day-in day-out throughout the works, and, while protective headgear could be provided, it is not desirable for individuals working at height to have their hearing obscured as there is concern the ability to hear each other and any alarms could be affected.”

  6. Without getting too exited over a bell; is it really too dangerous to keep ringing it? No: then let it bloody ring.

  7. Dorothy L Sayers (writing before the creation of the HSE) based her story The Nine Tailors on the power of bells. Jolly ripping yarn.

    Julia – it rings the quarters too, I think.

    Hallowed Be – …why the bell tolleth not
    /pendantry

  8. There are probably are fair number of readers that are thinking: ‘Why not just buy some PPE and get the team to wear ear defenders on site?’

    Not me.

    “People will be working on the scaffolding day-in day-out throughout the works, and, while protective headgear could be provided, it is not desirable for individuals working at height to have their hearing obscured as there is concern the ability to hear each other and any alarms could be affected.”

    Exactly.

  9. “The question is why was the bell being silenced… One news report suggested this was because of the work force, i.e. to protect sensitive ears.”

    You can hear it a long, long way away, at least a quarter mile I reckon. Next to it noise must be bloody loud.

    I see Diogenes has supplied more detail.

  10. TMB,

    *Spoilers* 🙂

    They’re terrific stories. I’ve read nearly all of the Wimseys and they’re a joy to read. I’ve tried Poirot and they’re as clever but lack the charm and fun. If you’ve not read, try Strong Poison, Whose Body and Murder Must Advertise

  11. To the contrary, Tim. This is bikeshedding – let’s waste time on this trivial detail because all the hard stuff is scary.

    Also, there’s an opening here for a company hiring all-deaf workers.

  12. I’ve been to visit the clock bell in Nottingham, Little John, which is very similar weight etc (but not cracked, so sounds much better) and even with ear defenders it is seriously loud up close. The mechanism is old and fiddly too for Big Ben, not just an on/off switch, from what I’ve been told by bellhangers.
    Most ringers just think it’s a good chance to recast it.

  13. @TMB/BiS

    The Wimsey radio plays on iPlayer are a constant source of joy too.

    Thoroughly recommended.

    As is Frances Durbridge’s Paul Temple radio plays. Even the restaged ones are cracking.

  14. John²/BiSw

    Yes, yes & yes to all the Dorothy L Sayers and Paul Temple.

    BBC dramatisations of these are excellent too.

    Kindle versions of old classic but largely forgotten crime and mystery novels are cheap (± £1). Do try those by:
    Basil Thomson
    J S Fletcher
    E R Punshon

  15. TMB,

    Thanks. I’ve tried some of the British Library Crime Classics. I particularly liked Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Croft.

  16. Wait a second.

    If I understand the situation correctly, Big Ben is in need of restoration. Iconic monuments don’t decay overnight. This means the repairs could have been started years ago. Since they weren’t then we could say that Brexit is already making Britain great again.

    Yes, I am well aware that the planning for a major restoration takes more than a few months. That’s ok. We live in a post-truth society.

  17. “Official guidance by the Health and Safety Executive states any regular exposure of more than a minute to sounds in excess of 110 decibels would cause permanent hearing loss. Big Ben easily falls into this category.”

    So the bell rings each stroke for more than a minute? hmm.
    We can’t take lunch from say 11.30-12.30?
    We need to shut the ringer down for 4 years?

    Did they shut down the bell when Noakes was hanging off the outside on a rope?

    N.B. I have worked at height and in engineering environments.

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