The newly-restored spire of Big Ben will soon be uncovered from under its scaffolding in a “key moment” in the tower’s renovation.
Parts of the iconic British landmark, officially named the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, will again be visible from Monday as workers begin to remove the scaffolding that has covered it during its restoration.
More of the rooftop and spire will be revealed over the next five weeks amid a four-year conservation project to fix problems including crumbling stone and a leaky roof.
The tower, which is part of the Palace of Westminster and listed as a Grade 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands at 98 metres (321ft) tall and was completed in 1859.
Its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world.
The scaffolding will only be removed around the very top at this stage, since the conservation work on the rest of the tower is ongoing.
Renovation work on the famous clock tower began in 2017 and is due for completion in 2021.
Adam Watrobski, principal architect on the project, said: “The first section of scaffolding coming down is a key moment in the project.
“It means that we are getting nearer the end and that people can again enjoy this symbol of our nation and of democracy.”
Charlotte Claughton, senior project leader, said: “Removing the scaffolding in stages is part of our commitment to make sure as much as possible of this iconic landmark is visible to the public.
“We share the world’s love of the tower and the clock and I know the whole team feel so privileged to be part of this project.
“And now we get to show everyone a bit more of what we have been working on.”
The tower will be reopened to the public once the conservation work is complete, and a new exhibition on the 160-year-old tower will also be installed.
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