The London landmark’s famous chimes will cease next week as essential restoration work begins.

The Great Bell, known as ‘Big Ben’, was first heard on 11 July 1859 and sits in the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament.

Tom Brake MP, Spokesperson for the House of Commons Commission, said: ‘The Elizabeth Tower is a symbol of the UK’s democratic heritage and forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have a duty to ensure that it is safeguarded for future generations to appreciate, just as we owe it to our predecessors to restore their masterpiece to its former glory. While these works are much needed in the short-term, they will also ensure the long-term future and sustainability of Big Ben.’

The chimes will sound for the last time at noon on Monday 21 August. Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock, is inviting members of the public ‘to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021’.