London: Scaffolding hiding the roof of the Elizabeth Tower, which houses London’s iconic Big Ben, will begin to be removed this after three years of extensive renovation.
The top of the tower will be visible again but work will continue on the rest of the famous structure, Sky News reported on Sunday.
Taking down the scaffolding will take six weeks and will reveal 3,433 cast iron roof tiles which were removed and repaired in a specialist workshop. Crumbling stone work and leaks were also fixed as part of the conservation work.
Reacting to the development, House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said in a statement: “Like everyone else, I have been looking forward to seeing the scaffolding come down on Elizabeth Tower – so the unveiling of the roof will be a memorable moment.
We could all do with some good news in this Covid-19 world, so it is very exciting to actually see some more of this great icon.
I am hoping the conservation work that has taken place on the tower – an important symbol of our democracy – will assure its place in London’s skyline for generations to come.’
The four-year restoration scheme of the Elizabeth Tower began in 2017, reports Sky News.
In February, it was revealed that the cost of the renovation had risen by almost a third to 79.7 million pounds.
The increase has been blamed on the discovery of asbestos, pollution and extensive Second World War bomb damage in the Elizabeth Tower.
The four clock dials on the outside of the tower contain a total of 1,296 individual pieces of glass, each of which need to be replaced as part of the restoration work.
The clock – which weighs 12 tonnes – has been dismantled and taken away for a complete overhaul.
The Elizabeth Tower is often mistakenly called Big Ben, but that latter name only refers to the bell that occupies part of it.
It only gained its current name, having previously been called the Clock Tower, when it was renamed in honour of the Queen to mark her diamond jubilee in 2012.