Bye bye Big Ben, see you in four years

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Workers have been pictured erecting scaffolding around Elizabeth Tower as they begin conservation work that will see its Big Ben bell silenced until 2021.

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster.

Big Ben was silenced at the end of August ahead of the £61million maintenance works.

It is thought the 13.7 tonne bell’s loud bongs could have detrimental effects on the hearing of workers operating in such close vicinity. 

Elizabeth Tower was built 1859 at a time when it was known simply as the Clock Tower. It received its current name in 2012 as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Some Conservative MPs have called for Big Ben to chime as a one-off during the maintenance works to signal the completion of Britain’s exit from the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019.

Workers have been pictured erecting scaffolding around Elizabeth Tower as they begin conservation work

Workers have been pictured erecting scaffolding around Elizabeth Tower as they begin conservation work

Workers have been pictured erecting scaffolding around Elizabeth Tower as they begin conservation work

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster

Men wearing hard hats, hi-vis jackets and safety harnesses were seen clambering up to the clock face of the 315ft structure in the heart of Westminster

The maintenance work is expected to be completed in 2021 and will cost £61million. During this time Big Ben will be silenced

The maintenance work is expected to be completed in 2021 and will cost £61million. During this time Big Ben will be silenced

The maintenance work is expected to be completed in 2021 and will cost £61million. During this time Big Ben will be silenced

Some Conservative MPs have called for Big Ben to chime as a one-off during the maintenance works to signal the completion of Britain's exit from the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019

Some Conservative MPs have called for Big Ben to chime as a one-off during the maintenance works to signal the completion of Britain's exit from the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019

Some Conservative MPs have called for Big Ben to chime as a one-off during the maintenance works to signal the completion of Britain’s exit from the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019