Those in the vicinity of Westminster on Friday morning shouldn’t panic when they hear Big Ben ringing non-stop for three minutes – Britain’s most famous clock hasn’t snapped a spring, it’s just ringing in the 2012 Olympic Games.
The giant bell in the clock tower in Parliament Square will chime a total of 40 times between 8:12am and 8:15am to mark the start of the Games – the first time it has rung outside of its regular schedule since 15 February 1952, when it chimed every minute for 56 strokes to mark the funeral of King George VI.
Big Ben’s extra bongs are part of an art project – catchily titled “Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes” – organised by Turner Prize winner Martin Creed. Creed is encouraging people across Britain to ring a bell or make noise for three minutes in an attempt to set a world record for the most number of bells rung simultaneously.
Organisations such as the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, The Royal Navy, overseas British embassies and even a British research station on Antarctica are expected to join in, too.
Anyone and everyone can take part in the bell-ringing event, all you need to go is grab a bell (or anything that makes a loud noise) and get ringing!