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Big Ben's bongs behind the time by few seconds

A bit temperamental

Big Ben's bongs behind the time by few seconds

Officials say the famous clock at Britain's Parliament — used by Londoners for decades to check the time — has recently been slow by as much as six seconds.

The 156-year-old clock chimes every 15 minutes and emits deep bongs to mark the hour. Its inaccuracy was noticed by staff at BBC radio, which broadcasts the bongs live at 6 p.m.

Ian Westworth, one of Parliament's three clocksmiths, told the BBC the clock had become "a little temperamental" with age.

"Imagine running your car for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the last 156 years," he said.

Parliamentary officials said Tuesday that mechanics had corrected the clock to within "normal parameters" — within 2 seconds of the right time. They will continue to adjust it by placing pennies on the pendulum — or removing them — to fine-tune its speed.

Parliament's neo-Gothic clock tower is one of London's most recognizable landmarks, and its bell is one of London's characteristic sounds.

Associated Press

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