Big Ben clock hands go blue after surprise historical discovery

Restorers initially thought the dials were painted black when it was finished in 1859

Big Ben’s clock hands are to return to their original shade as one of London’s most well-known landmarks moves closer to the completion of its refurbishment.

The iconic building is undergoing a major facelift which has seen it shrouded in scaffolding for the past four years.

Now, with less than a year to go before the tower at the Houses of Parliament is expected to be fully revamped, the clock hands have reappeared in their original format.

During work on the 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower, workmen discovered that the hands were originally painted blue rather than black.

As a result, restorers decided to paint the hands in their original Prussian blue colour.

The extensive project involves reglazing and repainting the clock dials, adding a lift to the tower, repairing roof tiles, upgrading lighting and refurbishing the stonework.

The £80 million initiative to spruce up the 177-year-old tower is on track to wrap up in the second quarter of next year.

The completion will be marked by the ringing of Big Ben’s famous 13.7-tonne bell which has been largely silent since 2017.

In January 2020, the clock bonged to mark the moment the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.

Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said when fans of Big Ben see the final result the long wait will have been worth it.

He said: "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.”


Updated: September 7th 2021, 6:41 AM
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