I was interviewed by BBC Radio Northampton on Tuesday, 22nd August. In this interview I was asked about the silencing of Big Ben’s bells as well as the possibility of Parliament moving to Northampton!
Big Ben’s bells have been switched off since Monday 21st August, while conservation work continues. This will probably be the longest period of time that the 13.7-tonne Great Bell has fallen silent in its 157-year history. The Clock Tower and the Houses of Parliament are about to undergo vital conservation work and the silencing of Big Ben has been done in order to protect the hearing of those working inside the structure and on the scaffolding around it.
The renovation of Parliament in general also means that Parliament may be temporarily relocated in coming years, depending on the outcome of any vote on the subject. Hundreds of years ago Parliament was actually held in Northampton and there were even some August reports in the tabloids that Parliament might return to Northampton for the duration of the renovations! Although it clearly is not going to happen this time, Parliament was indeed based in Northampton for nearly 250 years, from the years 1131 to 1380, due to our strategic position as a mid-point between London and York.
If you would like to listen to the interview, click on the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05bbs08 and then skip to 8:25am (2 hours and 25 minutes into the programme).