'Big Ben' tower a step closer to restoration as blue clock hands return
- Big Ben tower is 177-years-old
- we are all longing for the sound of Big Ben, said Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons
- Big Ben last chimed on August 21, 2017
Britain's iconic 'Big Ben' tower at the Houses of Parliament is under a restoration process since 2017. The 80 million pound ($111 million) project which is due to be completed next year has taken one step closer to its completion. Big Ben has got its hands back and has been restored to its original Prussian blue colour.
The work on the tower, which is 177-year-old, began in 2017 saw the craftsmen refurbishing its stonework, reglaze the four clock dials, and repaint the ironwork.
"While we are all longing for the sound of Big Ben marking the time, and for the scaffolding to be removed from the tower – I think we will all agree at the unveiling next year, our patience has been worth it," said Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons.
During work on the 96-metre-tall (315 ft) Elizabeth Tower, restorers discovered that the clock hands were originally painted blue rather than black.
The tower has been standing since the 1920s and has been an extension of the Palace of Westminster. In 1834, a fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster. It was then restored in the 1840s and the construction of the tower began in 1845 at the north edn of the Palace of Westminster.
The design of the clock was a big challenge. The Astronomer Royal wanted the clock to be accurate within one second when striking the hour.
To establish this, a great bell was built with four small quarter bells. Every 15 minutes, a quarter bell chimes, and the great bell strikes, giving out the note ‘E’.
The four smaller bells strike ‘G sharp’, ‘F sharp’, ‘E’ and ‘B’.
“Parliament is restoring the clock tower to its former glory, as well as modernising and upgrading facilities to make it fit for the 21st century. This is vital to ensure that this iconic building, situated on a UNESCO World Heritage site, is safeguarded for future generations to visit and enjoy,” the government said.
Big Ben, which last chimed on August 21, 2017, can next be heard next year.