As the world is currently on stand-by due to Covid-19, few aspects of life before lockdown still continue. London is almost effectively a ghost town for the time being, as The Rolling Stones sing in their latest track.
Although most major construction work has also been suspended, we can still see behind the scenes of the Big Ben restoration works. Fancy taking a peek? There’s a short video below.
The Elizabeth Tower, which is its real name, was shut down to the public in 2017 to carry out vital restoration work, including the roof top, the clock itself and the stair case. Part of the scaffolding had already been removed, to allow the 177 year-old structure to be seen by Londoners and tourists, when McAlpine, the contractor company, closed down most of their UK sites on 24 March, following the Prime Minister’s announcement.
It hasn’t been an easy ride so far. The refurbishement bill was initially estimated at £29m, then increased a couple of times to £61.1m and by £18.6m in February 2020, as asbestos, second world war bombing and other extensive damage was uncovered.
Regardless of this, the Big Ben is such an iconic landmark that it might be interesting to see more details of its restoration. Technology is being used to build computer models to better understand how the building was designed, as there doesn’t seem to be any comprehensive records, and how to tackle the project. The video below is an excellent account of what the project entails (11 minutes). Enjoy!