Britain's Big Ben falls silent for four years

Britain’s Big Ben falls silent for four years

Facebook Tweet

Miért is hallgat el a legendás Big Ben négy hosszú évre? A leckéből kiderül.

The "Big Ben" bell in the British parliament's famous clock tower tolled for the last time on Monday 21st August, before it ceased its regular bongs for four years while renovation work is carried out.

The bongs will sound for events such as New Year's Eve celebrations but the four-year length of the outage has caused consternation among British politicians. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the length of the absence "can't be right".

The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock to ensure the safety of those working on the restoration in the tower, with the bell-ringing not returning to normal until 2021.

Hundreds of people stood in silence along Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square to observe the final bongs, breaking into applause once the bells had ceased to ring.

Officially called the Elizabeth Tower, the 96-metre-tall clock tower that houses Big Ben is believed to be the most photographed building in the United Kingdom. Its lower sections are already covered in scaffolding.

The panel of lawmakers responsible for the maintenance of parliament's buildings has said it will review the arrangements following the backlash, but will still ensure worker safety is prioritized.

Big Ben chimes every quarter of an hour, day and night, but it has not been substantially renovated since 1985, and repairs are needed to the glass on the clock face, the hands of the clock and the tower itself.

Nine facts to know about Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname of the tower’s biggest bell, but is used to refer to the whole tower structure.

The tower was officially named Elizabeth Tower in 2012, to toast Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne. Before that it was called the Clock Tower. It has also been called St Stephen’s Tower.

There is some debate about who Big Ben was named after. Some say bare-knuckle boxing champion Ben Caunt but the more likely is said to be Welsh civil servant Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the installation of the bell.

The bell went into service in 1859, but soon became cracked, because the hammer that was striking it was far too big. A smaller hammer was installed and the bell rotated so it struck away from the fissure.

Coins have been used to keep the clock accurate over its 158-year history. They can be added or removed from the pendulum of the clock. The addition of one penny causes the clock to gain two-fifths of a second in 24 hours. The repairs that begin in 2017 will serve to maintain the clock’s mechanics.

But changing the coins is only for the physically fit. The clock tower is 205 feet (62.5 metres) high, with 335 steps to the belfry.

The bell is being stopped on August 21, 2007 for repairs. It was also stopped in 1941 when a workman dropped his hammer into the inner workings of the clock as he was carrying out repairs following a bombing raid. It was also paused during WW1 (it chimed during WW2 but the clock was not illuminated to avoid guiding German bomber pilots). The bells have also been stopped for the funerals of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Big Ben weighs 13.7 tonnes and is 2.7 metres in diameter.

There is even a Twitter account for Big Ben, which helpfully tweets the amount of bongs or chimes the bell makes each hour.

Source:Independent, Reuters, Euronews

Vocabulary

to toll

szólni, ütni

to cease

beszüntetni

bong

kongás

outage

leállás

consternation

megdöbbenés, megrökönyödés

absence

hiány

hammer

ütő

to ensure

biztosítani

to observe

megfigyelni

to break into applause

tapsban kitörni

scaffolding

felállványozás

lawmaker

törvényhozó

backlash

(ellen)reakció

to prioritize

elsődlegesen fontosnak tartani

to chime

szól, harangozik

substantially

lényegesen

hand

mutató

nickname

becenév

bare-knuckle boxing

bokszkesztyű nélküli bokszolás

champion

bajnok

installation

beszerelés

cracked

repedt

to rotate

forogni

fissure

repedés

coin

pénzérme

accurate

pontos

pendulum

inga

belfry

harangtorony

bombing raid

bombatámadás

to illuminate

kivilágítani

funeral

temetés

diameter

átmérő

Nehézségi szint:
középfok
Tetszett a lecke? Oszd meg barátaiddal is!
Kapcsolódó anyagok
5Perc Angol | 2015. Sep 25.

Britain’s new money is plastic, easy to launder

Ezt a cikket a magazin 6. oldalán olvashatod. 
Tovább

Great Britain introduces the new one pound coin

Megújult az egyfontos Nagy-Britanniában. Nézd meg, és olvasd el, hogy milyen lett! A régi vagy az új tetszik jobban?
Tovább
Szalai Nóri | 2012. Jan 28.

Charities in Britain

A 2012 februári szám 56-57. oldalán olvasható cikket hallgathatod meg itt.
Tovább
5Perc Angol | 2015. Apr 14.

Why is it “Zed” in Britain, and “Zee” in America?

"Zed" vagy "Zee"? Hogyan mondjuk helyesen? Olvasd el, és kiderül!
Tovább