Bongs of Big Ben 'out by 6 seconds'
Parliament chiefs have been left baffled by Big Ben’s bongs being out of sync by up to six seconds. The Great Clock has become “temperamental” leaving clocksmiths unsure how to fix the 156-year-old timepiece.
The early chimes caused interruptions to BBC radio 4 programming which rely on the bongs for live broadcasts. But when mechanics climbed the 334 steps up the Elizabeth Tower the clock became too slow after adjustments were made. The speed of the clock can be adjusted by adding and removing weights to the pendulum.
Clocksmith Ian Westworth said: “When we started correcting it, it corrected itself at the same time so we went from being fast to being slow. It’s settled down telling you exactly the right time so no-one will talk over our chimes.”
He said the clock was “temperamental” adding: “We don’t know why it happened. You’re talking about a 156-year-old clock, it does have a little fit every now and then. Imagine running your car for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the last 156 years.”
Steve Jaggs, the keeper of the clock, said his team were “dispatched immediately” when the problem arose admitting Big Ben needs “a lot of care”.
The team of three clocksmiths are monitoring the pendulum, air pressure and temperature and the gears to uncover the extent of the problem. Spot checks have increased from three times per week to every day, including weekends.
The clock is now accurate to less than one second following the adjustments that include adding or removing old penny coins. Each coin will affect the clock speed by 0.4 seconds per day.
The House of Commons said they became aware of the problem on August 15.
out of sync: 不同步