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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Big Ben chimes Cardiff's New Year
City Hall clock
Work on the city's main clock is due to start in January
Cardiff will see the new year in with a recording of Big Ben as repairs are carried out on the capital's main clock ahead of its centenary.

The century-old City Hall clock will be taken out of operation this week after it was discovered it was losing time.

Instead, the chimes of Big Ben will herald the New Year at the Calenning celebrations in the civic centre.

The four face Cardiff clock's features were designed by the man who also created the famous London timepiece.

The Cardiff clock formally began marking time after it was launched by the then mayor and mayoress of Cardiff(Alderman and Mrs Hughes) on St David's Day in 1905.

Jake Horton
Jake Horton:"We should be using our own bells."

The clock's bells are cast of pure copper and tin. They were tuned to chime the hour and every quarter hour, but have recently fallen out of step and were in need of repairs.

But earlier this week the landmark clock stopped working altogether.

"It' s obviously disappointing that arguably the city's most prominent centenarian will not be in good working order as we celebrate the beginning of Cardiff's century as a city," said a Cardiff council spokesperson.

"But we accept that at the ripe old age of 100, most of us will be in need of a bit of maintenance to keep us going."

Karen Abdalla
Karen Abdalla:"We should have been prepared "

Passers-by in Cardiff were disappointed that the city's clock would not be welcoming in its centenary year.

Schoolboy Jake Horton, 10, from Cardiff, said, "It's a real shame. The capital of Wales should be using their own bells instead of getting them from elsewhere."

Karen Abdalla, from Cwmbran, said, "It's not right. The new year is coming, they should have had it prepared for then."

Repair work which includes the removal of arms from each of the faces and removal of the spindles is expected to take a month. It will begin in January after scaffolding has been put up.

It will be left to Big Ben to chime in Cardiff's centenary year via a digital link.

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