Big Ben will ring for 3 minutes to start 2012 Olympics
Big Ben will chime more than 40 times between 8.12 and 8.15 as part of the London 2012 Festival.
The opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium is that evening.
It has been arranged by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed, for his “Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes”.
Mr Creed aims to set a world record for the most number of bells rung simultaneously, with organisations including the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, Stormont, all three branches of the military and British embassies worldwide expected to join in. There will even be a bell rung at a British research station on Antarctica.
It is believed to be the first time Big Ben has chimed outside its regular schedule since the funeral of King George VI in February 1952.
The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said: “It is a sign of how special this summer is when one of the world’s most famous bells will ring outside its regular schedule so it can be part of this London 2012 Festival commission to ring in the Olympic Games.”
The occasion will be a live performance as the bells will need to rung by hand, said Keeper of the Great Clock Mike McCann in a statement.
“We need to manually lift the brake that controls the weight that drives the mechanism that strikes Big Ben,” he added.
“It is a sign of how special this summer is when one of the world’s most famous bells will ring outside its regular schedule so it can be part of this London 2012 Festival commission to ring in the Olympic Games” said House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.