Refurbishment work began on Saturday on London’s Elizabeth Tower, also popularly known as Big Ben.

It is estimated that the work will last 3 years, the biggest repair job on the tower since decades.

The 29 million pound (42 million US dollars) renovation will include work to repair corrosion to the cast-iron roof and to stop water seepage that threatens to damage the stonework on the iconic 160-year-old building.

The huge clock, which has run almost uninterrupted since 1859, will be stopped for several months so that parliament’s clockmakers can work on the spring that holds the 13-foot (4-metre) pendulum and remove the hands from each of the four faces.

Officially named the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, the structure is one of London’s most famous landmarks.

The tower is popularly known as Big Ben, though that is actually the name of the largest of its five bells. The four smaller bells chime the quarter hours, while Big Ben bongs out the hour. 

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