Big Ben's tower to be unveiled after being hidden for two years

7 October 2019, 08:38

The spire of Elizabeth Tower will be unveiled from Monday
The spire of Elizabeth Tower will be unveiled from Monday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The spire of Big Ben is set to be unveiled after renovation works covered it in scaffolding for two years.

Parts of Parliament's Elizabeth Tower will again be visible from Monday in a “key moment” for the project as workers begin to remove the scaffolding that has covered it during its restoration.

The newly restored rooftop and spire will be revealed over the next five weeks as the metalwork is removed from the top of the building.

The 98-metre tower, part of the Grade 1 listed Palace of Westminster, is just over halfway through a four-year conservation project to fix structural problems including crumbling stone and a leaky roof.

Work 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.

The tower before it was covered in scaffolding in 2017
The tower before it was covered in scaffolding in 2017. Picture: PA

"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.