About a month ago, the scaffolding surrounding London’s iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock face were removed. Since 2017, restoration work has been underway in order to perform some much needed maintenance on the clock. It’s chimes were silent, but with the arrival of the new year, they are ringing out once more.
There are five bells inside of the clock tower, officially known as Elizabeth tower. The largest bell is named Big Ben and is where the nickname of the landmark comes from.
What exactly was restored?
Almost everything! Over 3,000 roof tiles and 1,000 clock parts were hand carried up into the narrow confines of the clock tower.
The most drastic change people may not is the color of the numbers on the clock faces. Before they were black. Now they are dark blue. When the clock tower first opened in 1859, the numbers were blue.
Other enhancements inside the clock include upgrades and replacements of the fire prevention and suppression systems, the electrical system and the addition of digital facilities. A new lift was also installed.
The bells inside the clock remain original and now chime out every 15 minutes. Many Londoners set their clocks by the chimes of Big Ben.
In the next few years, the Houses of Parliament will also be restored. For the first time, Parliament will actually be moving out to undergo the largest renovation in the building’s history. Having taken a tour inside, I can say the restoration and upgrades are much needed. MPs are still relying upon hand counts when voting on the passage of a bill into law.
It shall be interesting to see how the next few years unfold.