Big Ben's new blue makeover revealed as renovation approaches completion

6 September 2021, 20:22 | Updated: 6 September 2021, 20:48

Big Ben has been given a new blue makeover, and Londoners can easily make out the renovations now
Big Ben has been given a new blue makeover, and Londoners can easily make out the renovations now. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

More detail on the £80 million renovation of Big Ben can be seen after more scaffolding came down – with the clock face redecorated in blue.

Furore surrounded the famous clocktower's entombment as the national landmark began a five-year makeover.

Work is due to wrap up on Elizabeth Tower next year, with the gongs due to be heard again from early 2022, having mostly been silent since 2017.

Already it is possible to see a change of colour scheme.

The clock dials and stonework nearby were previously painted in layers of black paint, and it is thought that was designed to cover up the effects of pollution in London in the 1930s.

Now, they have been painted Prussian blue - a scheme closer to the vision of Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin, the architects of the House of Parliament.

Big Ben's clocktower has had a new lick of paint
Big Ben's clocktower has had a new lick of paint. Picture: Alamy

A row of six shields with St George's cross on them have also been returned.

Heraldic shields representing four parts of the UK have been restored, with improvements to the Irish shamrock, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and English rose.

Adam Watrobski, principal architect and head of architecture and heritage at the Houses of Parliament, said: "Using historic paint analysis and references including Barry's original design watercolour, contemporary illustrations and archival photographs, we have recreated the original colour scheme.

"The dials and clock hands are Prussian blue and gold and the adjacent areas make use of the red, white and blue colours of the Union flag."

The work was set to be concluded in 2021 but the Covid pandemic delayed the effort.

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