The Yorkshire foundry supporting Big Ben’s most complex restoration
14 July 2021
Yorkshire’s connection to the Elizabeth Tower runs into the very fabric of the building. The Tower –as well as the rest of the Palace of Westminster - was originally constructed with limestone from the Anston Quarry in Yorkshire. Anston stone was chosen because it was cheaper, could be carved more elaborately and was close to the Chesterfield canal – ideal for easy transport to London. But it isn’t just the stone of the Tower that hails from Yorkshire – it’s the nuts and bolts of the building, too.
Hargreaves Foundry, based in Halifax, has been casting iron for everything from mouldings to gutters and roof tiles during the restoration. Right across the Elizabeth Tower, you can see the Hargreaves Foundry ‘HF’ stamp on the metalwork, ensuring that Yorkshire’s presence in the building is felt for many years to come.
Being involved in the restoration has been a source of great pride for those at the foundry. Michael Hinchcliffe, the foundry’s Chairman, said: "This is an immensely prestigious project involving some of the best architects, engineers, historians, archivists and manufacturers in the country and we are immensely proud to be involved, especially given Halifax’s close association with Charles Barry, the original architect of the Tower."
Now that the project is back to working at full capacity after the pandemic, both Parliament and it’s teams in Yorkshire are delighted to gradually unwrap the Tower over the coming months, returning the iconic landmark to its former glory and ensuring the bells of Big Ben can be heard once more.
Parliament has developed a new series of talks with some of the contractors involved in the mammoth task of repairing and restoring the historic Elizabeth Tower. Later this month, the Chairman of Hargreaves Foundry, Michael Hinchcliffe, will be speaking about the company’s work to provide iron castings to the Tower, as well of the history of the company which has been operating in Halifax since 1881. Book your tickets now, at Parliament’s website.
Image credit: ©Hargreaves Foundry