Big Ben was the first of the London Olympics’ welcoming committee Friday morning (July 27). Beginning exactly at 8:12 a.m. and ending at 8:15 a.m., the clock tower’s bell was struck 40 times in honor of the opening ceremony scheduled to take place at 9:00 p.m. GMT.
The tower’s bell was not the only one to be heard across London. It was joined by bells, horns and chimes throughout the entire United Kingdom.
As part of Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed’s “All the Bells” project, all were encouraged to take part in the three-minute-long bell song. Olympic organizers believe this marks the first time Big Ben has been rung outside of its usual hourly schedule since King George VI’s funeral in 1952, reports the Huffington Post.