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12.07.2018

Big Ben Original Colour Scheme To Be Restored

The Elizabeth Tower – more commonly known as Big Ben – will be restored to its original Victorian colour scheme, the House of Commons has announced.

The famous clock tower was designed by Charles Barry, the architect of the Gothic Revival Palace of Westminster, and completed in 1859. Barry’s original design will be recreated following extensive paint analysis and archival research by Parliament’s team of conservation architects and the University of Lincoln.

The elaborate ironwork of each dial will be cleaned, and the clock frames and hands will be repainted to match Barry’s Prussian blue and gold. The restored dials will be filled with new white opalescent glass while the black paint to the adjacent stonework will be removed. The shields that sit above each dial will be decorated with a red cross to represent the St George’s coat of arms. The proposed colour scheme can be seen in the image below.

rendering_of_proposed_colour_scheme_from_paint_analysis_by_purcell.jpgRendering of Proposed Colour Scheme from paint analysis, by Purcell © UK Parliament 

The plans are a part of the Elizabeth Tower conservation works that began in early 2017. According to Parliament’s Principal Architect Adam Watrobski, the restoration is the project’s “crowning glory,” which will “serve to reinforce the symbolism of the Tower in its international representation of the United Kingdom.” Rt Hon Tom Brake MP said he was “thrilled” to see the Tower returned to its “former glory,” highlighting the necessity of the conservation work to “ensure the long-term sustainability of Big Ben and safeguard it for future generations to enjoy.”

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Header Image: A view of the exterior of one of the Elizabeth Tower's clock faces / Copyright Notice: © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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