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Oddly Enough

Big Ben clock puts on a new face

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 00:56

London’s famous Big Ben clock face gets a clean by a team of abseilers, while other experts carry out maintenance on the internal clock mechanics. Tara Cleary reports.

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It's one of the world's most famous landmarks - but being exposed to London's pollution, even Big Ben's clock needs a wash now and then. A team of abseilers, armed with buckets of soapy water are dwarfed by Westminster Palace's clock tower. And palace project manager Steve Jaggs says Big Ben won't be tolling while cleaning is underway. SOUNDBITE: Steve Jaggs, Big Ben project manager and palace maintenance manager, saying (English): "The hands have been closed to 12 o'clock to keep them out of the way of the abseilers and this will allow our internal clocksmiths to work on the inside of the clock as well. That ensuring good value for money for the whole project." For the team of abseilers, it's an opportunity not be missed, says Paul Harrison. SOUNDBITE: Paul Harrison, abseiler, saying (English): "It's one of the pinnacles of any abseiler to be cleaning such a famous structure so this is the project that everyone waits for to be taking that phone call." And because this clock has four faces, it will be a whole week before Big Ben's familiar ring is heard again in London.

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Big Ben clock puts on a new face

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 00:56