Big Ben won’t ring again until 2022, as the restoration of Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower has been further delayed by the coronavirus crisis.
The renovation of the monument in Westminster, which began in 2017 and already rises to at least £ 80 million, was originally expected to be completed this year, but was delayed when the Covid-19 lockdown ceased work.
The ‘complex task’ of installing the restored clock mechanism will begin this summer, UK Parliament authorities said in a statement.
It added: ‘The Elizabeth Tower conservation project is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2022 and Parliament has unveiled a number of key milestones expected on the project over the next twelve months.
The renovation of the monument in Westminster, which began in 2017 and already rises to at least £ 80 million, was originally expected to be completed this year, but was delayed when the Covid-19 lockdown ceased work. Pictured, Big Ben
“These include the removal of further scaffolding, the reinstallation of the Great Clock, and the return of the world-famous Big Ben chimes.”
It said the hands, which are “ gorgeous in their original Victorian color scheme, ” will be added to the dials and returned to the tower later this year.
“After years of painstaking conservation work, the hands, now resplendent in their original Victorian color scheme, will be added to the dials, and the restored mechanism will return to the tower later in the year.”
The original color scheme was changed in the early 20th century due to soot making the dial difficult to read.
The ‘complex task’ of installing the repaired clock mechanism will begin this summer, UK Parliament authorities said in a statement. In the photo Elizabeth Tower covered with scaffolding
Big Ben’s dial takes on a blue hue as renovation works return the historic monument to its original Victorian color
On April 22, workers can be seen on the scaffolding of the Elizabeth Tower in the Houses of Parliament in central London
History of Big Ben
After the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, those responsible for planning the new building decided to build a tower and clock.
The bell needed for the giant clock had to be big, and John Warner and Sons on Stockton-on-Tees’ first attempt burst beyond repair.
in 1858 the metal was melted down and the clock was rearranged in Whitechapel.
It was first heard by Westminster on May 31, 1859, but erupted again a few months later.
A lighter hammer had to be fitted and the bell turned so that an undamaged piece could be rung.
Early next year, the bells, including Big Ben, will be reconnected to the original Victorian clock mechanism ‘and will ring over Westminster again’.
Subsequently, the portal, which protected the Palace of Westminster during the works and supported the complex scaffolding structure, will be removed before the site is completely evacuated by the summer of next year.
The famous clock has been largely silent since 2017 due to repairs to the clock and Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower, which houses the clock, which has only been reconnected on significant occasions.
In February, repair work on Big Ben suffered a major downturn after estimated costs rose by more than £ 18 million to nearly £ 80 million.
It also turned out that on-site specialized timekeepers were unable to repair the historic Elizabeth Tower clock.
The revelations threatened to plunge the project, which had already doubled in cost, into crisis.
The House of Commons committee said it needed an additional £ 18.6 million to repair the clock, clock and tower, bringing the total to £ 79.7 million.
It blamed the price hike through the discovery of extensive World War II bomb damage, pollution, and asbestos in the Elizabeth Tower.
Specialized craftsmen have replaced the gold leaf on the dial, in the photo
An interview with site boss Andrew Dobson shows the blue clock figures in the background
The Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben bell, is seen shrouded above the Houses of Parliament in central London in 2017.
The body led by speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the tower was in worse shape than thought when the last estimate of £ 61.1 million was made two years ago – more than double the original cost of £ 29 million.
The committee said at the time that it still expected the work to be completed by the end of this year, but the completion date has now been pushed back by at least six months.
The full extent of the conservation was only revealed when the project team was first able to embark on intrusive investigations into the 177-year-old structure, the Commission said.
The last extensive conservation work on the UNESCO World Heritage Site was completed between 1983 and 1985.
The tower was designed by architects Charles Barry and Augstus Wellby Pugin.
An important part of the tower’s restoration is improving fire prevention standards.
The Parliament clock team temporarily disconnected Big Ben and the quarter clocks from the clock mechanism and lowered the weights to the base of the tower to provide a safe environment for the people who work in the Elizabeth Tower.
A custom electrical mechanism was built to power the 200kg percussion hammer, allowing the bell to ring on New Year’s Eve and Memorial Sunday.