WORLD : Bearing Fells Big Ben Clock

From Times Wire Services

It's not the heat but a faulty bearing that stopped the clock in the Big Ben bell tower three times this week, the government said today.

The hands of the famous clock on the tower of the Houses of Parliament stopped at 5:11 a.m. today, which is about where they snagged Wednesday and Thursday.

"We believe, as a result of investigations carried out this morning, that the problem is to do with a bearing in the eastern face of the clock, and that once that bearing has been replaced or lubricated, that the problem will go away," said Toby Sargent, spokesman for the Department of Environment.

Sargent said it apparently was just a coincidence that the clock broke down during the hottest days of the London summer. On Thursday, the temperature reached 97 degrees.

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