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Current Affairs

Restoration of Big Ben tower

Date: 09 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Big Ben tower in London has been closed for renovation. The renovation was started in 2017 and will continue for some time.

 

Background

The Big Ben is one of the most famous tourist attractions of London. It is also known as ‘Clock Tower’, ‘St Stephen’s Tower’ and lately ‘Elizabeth Tower’.

 

Details

  • The tower is located at the centre of London city and stands tall at 316 feet or 96 metre. It has a great bell and a striking clock.

  • After the completion of the tower in 1859, it is known to be one of the largest and most accurate in the world. The bell was largest in the United Kingdom for 23 years.

 

History

  • The clock tower is an extension of the Palace of Westminster. The Westminster houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

  • After the Palace of Westminster was destroyed in a fire incident in 1834, it was reconstructed by architect Charles Barry. The design of Big Ben was executed by Augustus Welby Pugin.

  • The tower was built it in a neo-Gothic style from the inside out.  The construction began in 1845 at the north end. People could hardly see the workers or materials during construction.

  • Bricks were used to build the tower and it was covered in sand-coloured Anston stone. It was topped with two-tier iron spire. 

  • It contains an air shaft to bring fresh air into the palace, a winding staircase in one corner and a weight shaft for the clock in the centre. 

  • It was designed to be most accurate turret clock in the world. It was expected to be accurate within one second when striking the hour.

 

The new features

  • The recent renovation will be the largest and most complex conservation project in the tower’s history. It was a four-year restoration process from 2017.

  • The clock tower faced issues like rusting iron, crumbling stones, leaking roofs and an aging clock. The new project will be made energy efficient.

  • Along with that, the clock tower will be repaired, redecorated, improved for health and safety systems. A lift will be installed for better access for maintenance and emergency services.

 

The completion

The project can be expected to be complete by 2021. The clock hands were restored to their original Prussian blue colour in a major step towards completion.