Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower Might Need to be Covered in Scaffolding for a Year

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

You may have already read that Big Ben’s hands are about to fall off, but that’s bollocks, according to a spokesperson (not least because Big Ben is actually the bell inside the famous clock). London’s best-loved timepiece is still in bad shape though, requiring urgent repairs that could take up to a year. Imagine that. 12 months with scaffolding hiding one of London’s most famous landmarks. Not ideal.

According to a leaked Commons report discovered on the weekend, the clock’s hands are in danger of stopping dead, while there are also cracks in the tower and issues with metal erosion. It’s been reported that £40 million might be needed to get things ship-shape again, and that we might have to do without Big Ben’s bongs for a period of four months.

The dramatically worded report to MPs said the entire clock mechanism was at risk, adding: "The clock currently has chronic problems with the bearings behind the hands and the pendulum," reads the report. "Either could become acute at any time, causing the clock to stop – or worse. There are major concerns that if this is not carried out within the next two to three years, the clock mechanism is at risk of failure with the huge risk of international reputational damage for Parliament. In the event of a clock-hand failure, it could take up to a year to repair due to the scaffolding needed."

Why it was allowed to get into this state in the first place is beyond me. [Standard, Daily Mail]

Image credit: Dan Coombes via Flickr