Constructing the Elizabeth Tower

The Elizabeth Tower was built from the inside outwards, meaning that no scaffolding was visible to the outside world. Materials were transported by river. A winch lifted materials to the masons and bricklayers.

Materials for the Elizabeth Tower came from all over the United Kingdom:

  • cast iron girders from Regent's Canal Ironworks were used
  • Yorkshire Anston stone and Cornish granite were used on the exterior
  • a Birmingham foundry supplied the Elizabeth Tower's iron roofing plates

Caen stone from Normandy, France was also used on the inside of the tower.

The foundation stone for the Elizabeth Tower was laid on 28 September 1843. Its foundations were dug 3m deep.

The construction fell five years behind schedule and the tower was finally completed in 1859. There was no official opening ceremony for the Elizabeth Tower, possibly because its completion had been so delayed.

Virtual tours of Parliament

Take an interactive tour up the Elizabeth Tower. Move from room to room, view 360 degree images and investigate highlighted objects