London's Big Ben tested ahead of New Year's Eve

The clock bell in the British Houses of Parliament's Elizabeth tower was being prepared for ringing in the new year with 12 "bongs", which struck at intervals on Thursday using its temporary mechanism while the clock is being restored.

Big Ben is due to sound at 1200, 1600, 2100, 2200, 2300 and finally midnight on December 31.

The original Victorian mechanism is expected to replace the temporary electric motor when the four-year conservation project is finished in Spring 2022.

London's firework display and traditional concert that typically draws thousands of people on to the streets were cancelled, as were events in other European capitals.

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