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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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Watch the work under the scaffolding unfold, including gilding and stonework and making the Tower fit for the 21st century

The people who conserved Big Ben

People from across the UK have come together to save one of the best loved buildings in the world.

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Craftspeople from across the UK used traditional skills such as gilding, stone masonry, glass cutting, and horology to conserve Parliament’s clock tower.  

These crafts are similar to the methods used by the Victorians when Elizabeth Tower was originally built in the 1850s.

Each skill takes a lifetime to perfect, each task with a hammer and chisel takes long hours to perform. Alongside traditional craftspeople, our team of engineers used cutting-edge technology.

A once in a lifetime job

The ingenuity of the solutions they produce together is part of what makes this conservation project so special.  

Everyone working on the project, from young apprentices to the masters at their craft, feel a huge responsibility to do this properly. It is truly a once in a lifetime job.   

Here are a few of the people who worked to conserve Big Ben for the future. 

Charlotte Claughton, Senior Project Leader, Houses of Parliament 

Charlotte is Parliament’s leader of the conservation project and manages the project day-to-day.  

“I’m immensely proud of the entire team working together to conserve Big Ben. I see the enthusiasm in our apprentices when they get to grips with a new skill taught to them by a colleague who has been plying their trade for years. I’m pleased to see my own generation, taking up heritage skills and apply them with such expertise,” Charlotte said. 

Adam Watrobski, Principal Architect and Head of Architecture and Heritage, Houses of Parliament  

As Principal Architect for Parliament, Adam is responsible for the entire Parliamentary Estate. On the Elizabeth Tower project, he ensures that the work is in keeping with the building’s architectural heritage and of the utmost standard.  

“On a complex project like this, our priority was to ensure that the fabric of this remarkable building is cared for, conserved and protected for years to come,” Adam said.  

Ian Westworth, Clock Maker, Houses of Parliament 

For 16 years, Ian has been one of Parliament’s clock mechanics. He was part of the team who painstakingly conserved the Great Clock. 

“This was the first time the Great Clock has been taken apart fully so we can assess and repair every wheel and pinion. Its been a daunting task without plans for the mechanism, but its also been an enormous privilege. Working on the best loved clock in the world requires not only skill but also a certain care and affection for the piece,” Ian said.

Learn more about the largest conservation project in Big Ben’s history 

A peek behind the scenes