If you're planning on visiting London anytime soon, it's unlikely you will hear Big Ben's famous chimes. The iconic landmark will fall silent next week as a major four year restoration project gets underway.
The bongs of the bell will be stopped on August 21 to protect workers during a $37.3 million conservation project that includes repair of the Queen Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and its clock.
Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said that the mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired.
"Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project," Jaggs said in a statement. "This essential program of works will safeguard it on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving the Elizabeth Tower."
Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded in 1859, but the current restoration project will mark the longest period of silence for the bell. It has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years and last fell silent for maintenance in 2007. Before that, Big Ben was silent between 1983 and 1985 during previous refurbishment.
It won't be completely quiet, though. Parliamentary authorities have confirmed that Big Ben will still sound on important occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve. And to ensure that the public are still able to adjust their watches, one working clock face will remain visible at all times throughout the renovation.
According to , the tourist hotspot on the bank of the River Thames is one of the most photographed locations in the UK, with over 2.6 million posts. Jaggs has encouraged members of the public to gather in nearby Parliament Square to listen to the final bongs when they chime next Monday.
Additional reporting from Associated Press.