War bombs did big damage to Big Ben
London – Britain’s Big Ben tower at the Houses of Parliament was more badly damaged by German bombs during World War II than originally thought, experts said yesterday, as the bill for its restoration rose by nearly £20 million (R385 million).
The 177-year-old tower has been swathed in scaffolding for the past three years as craftsmen refurbish its stonework and famous 12ton clock.
Being able to get close to the 96m tower has allowed them to spot other problems like damage caused by pollution and asbestos.
The House of Commons and House of Lords Commissions said they had been told that to restore the tower to its previous splendour, the budget would need to rise from £61.1 million to £79.7 million.
Ian Ailles, Director General of the House of Commons, said the task of restoring the tower had been more complex than anticipated.
Although the tower survived Nazi bombing, its roof and dials were damaged in a May 1941 air raid which destroyed the House of Commons chamber.