- Life Style
Big Ben, the famed bell belonging to Britain's Parliament, will chime non-stop for three minutes on Friday as part of a national event to mark the start of the London Olympics.
The huge bell will strike more than 40 times between 7:12 and 7:15 am GMT as part of an event devised by Turner Prize-winning British artist Martin Creed that will also see other bells ring out around the country.
It is thought to be the first time Big Ben has been rung outside its normal sequence since February 15, 1952, when it tolled every minute for 56 strokes for the funeral of King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II.
The mass bell-ringing, called "Work No 1197," aims to set a world record for the largest number of bells to be rung simultaneously, including bicycle bells and doorbells.
"It is a sign of how special this summer is when one of the world's most famous bells will ring outside its regular schedule," said John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament.
The event is part of the London 2012 cultural festival, a series of events coinciding with the Olympics.
The bells for the devolved assemblies of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland — the nations that with England make up the United Kingdom — will also chime in unison at the same time.
Thousands of people and organizations have already signed up to take part, including the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the British Army.
Big Ben is technically the name of the huge bell at the top of parliament's 96-meter clock tower, but is often used to refer to the tower itself.
Lawmakers voted in June to rename it Elizabeth Tower in honor of the queen's diamond jubilee marking her 60th year on the throne.
The bell, with its distinctive "bongs," normally sounds out the hours over central London, with separate chimes to mark every quarter of the hour.