Big Ben’s spire to be unveiled for first time since restoration began

The spire of Big Ben is set to be revealed from beneath its scaffolding in a ‘key moment’ in the tower’s renovation.

Parts of Parliament’s 98-metre Elizabeth Tower will again be visible from Monday, as workers begin to remove the scaffolding that has covered it during its restoration.

More of the newly restored rooftop and spire will be revealed over the next five weeks. The scaffolding will only be removed around the very top at this stage, as the conservation work continues to the rest of the tower.

The tower, part of the Palace of Westminster, a Grade 1 listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just over halfway through a four-year conservation project to fix problems, including crumbling stone and a leaky roof.

Work, which has seen the famous clock tower encased in scaffolding, began in 2017 and is due for completion in 2021.

Adam Watrobski, principal architect on the project, said: ‘The first section of scaffolding coming down is a key moment in the project.

‘It means that we are getting nearer the end and that people can again enjoy this symbol of our nation and of democracy.

‘A lot of hard work and ingenuity has brought us to this point and while there is much work still to be done, it is worth pausing to appreciate how far we have come.’

Charlotte Claughton, senior project leader, said: ‘Removing the scaffolding in stages is part of our commitment to make sure as much as possible of this iconic landmark is visible to the public.

‘We share the world’s love of the tower and the clock and I know the whole team feel so privileged to be part of this project.

‘And now we get to show everyone a bit more of what we have been working on.’ The name Big Ben is often used to describe the Elizabeth Tower, the clock and the bell, but the name was first given to the Great Bell itself.

When the stonemasons, ironworkers, painters, gilders and scaffolders have completed the conservation work, the tower will be reopened to the public. A new exhibition on the 160-year-old tower will also be installed.


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