Could Little John step in while Big Ben's bongs are gone?
(AFP) A British city on Thursday offered to replace the iconic chimes of London's Big Ben with the lesser known sounds of Little John, another bell, while parliament's Great Clock is being repaired.
The famous "bongs" of Big Ben are aired live on BBC transmissions, but a parliament report leaked by British newspapers this week said the clock, arguably the world's most famous, is in urgent need of repairs that could put it out of action for months.
"We feel Nottingham can offer a solution," Graham Chapman, deputy leader of the local council, wrote in a letter to parliamentary authorities in London.
He explained that the city's Council House is home to Little John, a 10-tonne bell with a deep E flat tone.
The large bell shares the same name as the sidekick of legendary Nottingham outlaw Robin Hood, who was ironically named Little John due to his huge size.
Big Ben is the nickname for the bell of the clock tower that adjoins Britain's parliament building on the banks of the River Thames in London, but the name is often used to refer to the whole tower.
Parliament officials were not immediately available for comment, while Nottingham said it had received no response to its offer.
The leaked report laid out a 40 million euro plan for repairing the clock, which could see it shut down for four months, the longest stoppage in its 156-year history.
The whole of the Westminster complex, which houses parliament's upper and lower chambers, is crumbling and in need of billions of pounds worth of restoration that could take years, prompting calls for lawmakers to meet elsewhere.
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