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Big Ben Slowly Returns From Restoration With New Color For Clock Hands
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Sep 2021
Photo 160458709 © Tupungato | Dreamstime.com
Slowly but surely, Britain’s Big Ben tower is removing its face mask after efforts to restore the 177-year-old monument commenced in 2017.
As part of the £80 million (US$111million) project, its clock is now sporting Prussian blue hands, a vibrant change from the solemn black hands that greeted tourists prior to the restoration. Talk about a (clock) facelift.
Photo 229261150 © VVShots | Dreamstime.com
The overhaul will include replaced stonework for the tower, new finishing for the clock dials, and repainted ironwork, Reuters reports.
But why blue? Time Out London has the answer. Citing the official UK parliament website, the previous black dials were painted as so to cloak visible damage from London’s smog in the 1930s. The pollution isn’t as bad as it used to be, thankfully.
Since the tower’s completion in 1859, it has seen six color schemes—Prussian blue was the original hue that architect Charles Barry envisioned for the structure, and that’s the one Britain is going with.
To faithfully recreate Barry’s intended blue, restorers conducted “historic paint analysis” involving the architect’s “original design watercolor, contemporary illustrations and archival photographs.”
In addition, the clock face is surrounded with Union flag motifs in red, white, and blue, just as the architect had imagined.
After years of being silenced, Big Ben will finally chime hourly from early next year, the BBC notes.
“While we are all longing for the sound of Big Ben marking the time, and for the scaffolding to be removed from the tower—I think we will all agree at the unveiling next year, our patience has been worth it,” shared Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, back in April.
[via Reuters and Time Out, images via various sources]
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