Join Fred Mills inside the Elizabeth Tower as he reveals the restoration work taking place
Conservation of Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben
On the following pages you can read the remarkable story of how people from across the nation came together to save one of the best loved buildings in the world.
Big Ben undergoes the biggest conservation in its history
Affectionately known around the world as Big Ben and shrouded in scaffolding since 2017, the Elizabeth Tower is being repaired from the gilt cross and orb at its tip, to the bottom of its 334-step staircase.
This is the largest and most complex conservation project in the Tower’s history.
Parliament is restoring the clock tower to its former glory, as well as modernising and upgrading facilities to make it fit for the 21st century. This is vital to ensure that this iconic building, situated on a UNESCO World Heritage site, is safeguarded for future generations to visit and enjoy.
A powerful symbol of democracy
The Elizabeth Tower stands as a symbol of not only the United Kingdom but of democracy.
The bells of Big Ben have been ringing for over 160 years, despite the effects on the building of bombing during the Second World War, as well as weather and pollution.
The clock tower was built by the Victorians to the highest possible standards, using the best craftspeople and the finest materials. But like other buildings of a similar age, the Elizabeth Tower is suffering from problems that need to be overcome. Once the restoration is complete, the clock tower can continue to tell time for centuries to come.
Investing in precious skills
Many hundreds of specialist craftspeople from across the UK are contributing to the conservation project. They are using traditional trades which reflect our proud architectural heritage, including stone masonry, gilding, glass cutting and horology.
This £79.7m investment is vital to secure Elizabeth Tower for the next 160 years. It is also an investment in our traditional trades.
Once the work has been completed the clock tower will reopen to visitors. Read on to see what’s been happening and what visitors can expect to see.