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Bong! Big Ben sounds for first time since August

Palace of Westminster clockmakers were working through the day adjusting the bells to ensure they strike at exactly the right time.

The chimes of Big Ben have rung out around Westminster for the first time in almost three months.

The famous bongs were heard at 9am and the bell continued its regular peals through the day in preparation for Armistice Day commemorations at the 11th hour of November 11, followed by Remembrance Sunday events the following day.

Politicians and tourists in the area have been advised not to set their watches by Big Ben over the next few days, as parliamentary authorities expect “slight inaccuracies” following its 11-week break for essential conservation work.

Palace of Westminster clockmakers were working through the day adjusting the bells to ensure they strike at exactly the right time for ceremonies at the weekend.

The bells will be disconnected after ringing the hour at 1pm on Sunday November 12.

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(PA Graphics)

Its chimes are then due to resume on December 23 for the Christmas period, falling silent again at 1pm on January 1.

Maintenance work will cease for the holidays, meaning there is no threat to workers’ hearing from the volume of the bongs.

When Big Ben was halted on August 21 for works lasting four years on the Elizabeth Tower, it was made clear it would be restarted for important national events.

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Onlookers gathered outside the Palace of Westminster on August 21 as Big Ben's bongs rang out for the last time before renovation work began (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Elizabeth Tower, which holds the famous bell, is surrounded by scaffolding, but at least one clock face will always be kept visible while repair work and maintenance is carried out on dials and hands of the others.

A Channel 4 documentary crew has been allowed behind the scenes as work on the 158-year-old tower continues.

The programme, Big Ben: Saving The World’s Most Famous Clock, will be broadcast on Sunday at 9pm.

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