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Ashford-based Taskmasters workers scale Palace of Westminster to clean Big Ben

By Vicky Castle

It is arguably one of the most famous clocks in the world and a team of experts tasked with abseiling down the Big Ben clock tower to give it a good scrub are from Kent, it has emerged.

Ashford-based company Taskmasters secured the cleaning job by scaling the 95.7 metre tower at the Palace of Westminster.

The trained specialists all live in the area and work for the UK's leading height safety and rescue specialist company, based in Dover Place.

The Big Ben tower is at the heart of UK time-keeping - here it gets a spruce-up

Wearing ear defenders to protect against the chimes, the team spent four days - a day on each of the four clockfaces.

The clock was last cleaned in 2010 so - as well as cleaning the clockfaces - the technicians carried out a photographic survey to check the dials for damage.

Taskmasters have a training centre, one of the largest and well-equipped in the UK, teaching people to work at height, in rescue situations and confined spaces.

Each clock face is made up of 312 pieces of pot opal glass, held together by a cast iron framework.

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