Sunday 25 September 2016

Little John could replace silenced Big Ben

Published 21/10/2015 | 13:36

Westminster's Great Clock is said to be so dilapidated that it could grind to a halt without major repair work
Westminster's Great Clock is said to be so dilapidated that it could grind to a halt without major repair work

A 10-and-a-half ton bell affectionately known as Little John has been put forward as a potential replacement for the world-renowned chimes of Big Ben.

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Parliament's Great Clock is said to be so dilapidated that it could grind to a halt unless drastic repairs are carried out.

The proposed £29 million "full refurbishment" would involve the clock being stopped for four months and each of the four faces covered in turn as work is undertaken.

But Nottingham City Council has said its Council House bell could deputise if needed.

The deputy leader of the authority has written to the BBC and the Serjeant at Arms at Westminster offering the services of the bell known as Little John and its E-flat tone.

Graham Chapman said the chimes would be missed at Westminster if a replacement is not found.

He wrote: "We note with interest the recent news reports about repairs to Big Ben which would mean the chimes would fall silent for several months.

"On behalf of our city, we are therefore pleased to offer the chimes of Little John as a replacement during the period when Big Ben is being repaired.

"It would be a great honour for our bell to serve this purpose. These chimes are iconic across the globe and of course could never be replaced.

"However the distinctive sound of bells at key moments during the day and night would be missed across the world unless a temporary replacement could be found."

Little John was cast by Loughborough bellfounders John Taylor and Co in 1927, which also cast bells for St Paul's Cathedral, Manchester Town Hall and Liverpool Cathedral.

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