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It's one of the world's most famous landmarks - but being exposed to London's pollution, even Big Ben's clock needs a wash now and then.
Big Ben
Big Ben
© AFP/Scanpix

A team of abseilers, armed with buckets of soapy water, are dwarfed by Westminster Palace's clock tower.

And palace project manager Steve Jaggs says Big Ben won't be tolling while cleaning is underway.

"The hands have been closed to 12 o'clock to keep them out of the way of the abseilers and this will allow our internal clocksmiths to work on the inside of the clock as well. That ensuring good value for money for the whole project," says Jaggs, Big Ben project manager and palace maintenance manager.

For the team of abseilers, it's an opportunity not be missed, says one of them, Paul Harrison: "It's one of the pinnacles of any abseiler to be cleaning such a famous structure so this is the project that everyone waits for to be taking that phone call."

And because this clock has four faces, it will be a whole week before Big Ben's familiar ring is heard again in London.

Reuters
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