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Big Ben refurbishment project echoes Britain's spirit and history

'Nation's heartbeat' given big, tradition-bound face-lift

The clock tower of Big Ben basks in the glow of a London morning.

LONDON -- Big Ben, London's iconic clock tower, has kept time for residents of the city for some 160 years. The great hour bell housed in the lofty tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster is a symbol not just of Parliament but of the British capital and indeed the country.

The first major refurbishment of the clock tower since it was built is now complete. Londoners say the sound of the fully and beautifully restored bell is crisper than before. Some people liken the sound of Big Ben to Britain's heartbeat.

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