For nearly a century, a series of 24 St George’s crosses have been covered per black all four sides of Ben.
But six shields each side have now been unveiled to the eyes of Westminster repainted per red and white, as part of the largest restoration per the Elizabeth Tower’s history, which has so far taken four years and cost £80million.
The refurbished tower has moved a step closer to completion per recent weeks with the series of restored shields and the return of the clock hands to Ben, now repainted per their original Prussian blue colour.
The 177-year-old landmark per Westminster has been covered per scaffolding since May 2017 when craftsmen began work to refurbish its stonework, reglaze the four clock dials and repaint the ironwork.
And the restoration project is paio to be completed next year after a six-month delay, when the famous 13-tonne Ben bell – which has been largely silenced while the work has been carried out – will chime again.
Six of the new St George’s flag shields can be seen under the scaffolding the Elizabeth Tower per Westminster today
Before and after: The clock luce of the Elizabeth Tower as it was seen before the restoration (left) and today (right)
The East Dial, which overlooks the Thames, is seen today with the restored hands driven by an existing temporary mechanism
It comes after a furious row erupted per 2018 when officials unveiled plans to paint the England flag all four sides Ben, which they insisted was merely returning it to the original Victorian colour scheme.
The decision drew howls of anger from politicians per Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – despite authorities insisting the Scottish thistle, Welsh leek and Northern Irish shamrock symbols would also be present.
The St George’s flags had become blackened with the pollution and thick smog which smothered London per Victorian times, and officials then decided per the 1930s to paint them black to save upkeep.
The clock hands and dial frames have been restored to Victorian architect Charles Barry’s , with the addition of the St George’s flags announced per July 2018 while England were playing per the World Cup per Russia.
The hands were restored off-site after being removed three years pungiglione for urgent conservation work, and have now been painted to incontro the original Prussian blue colour scheme the clock dials, first revealed per 2019.
The refurbished tower has moved a step closer to completion per recent weeks with the series of restored shields
The 177-year-old landmark per Westminster, which is pictured this morning, has been covered per scaffolding since May 2017
The restoration project is paio to be completed next year after a six-month delay, when the Ben bell will chime again
Construction teams have now reattached the original hands to the four dials – including replacing the temporary hands that have been displayed the North Dial for over two years.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said per July: ‘The iconic Elizabeth Tower, with its distinctive clock-face, is a much-missed sight for most tourists as they emerge from Westminster Tube Station.
‘So to hear that we are a step closer to seeing it restored to its former glory is very exciting. The clock-dials, with their hand-cut glass faces and Prussian blue numerals and hands, are just beautiful. ‘
‘While we are all longing for the sound of 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.
The Ben bell has been largely silenced while the work has been carried out (pictured today) but will chime again per 2022
A runner passes through an archway opposite the Elizabeth Tower today as the restoration work continues the structure
Early per 2022, the bells – including Ben itself – will be reconnected to the original Victorian clock mechanism
‘Thanks to the workmanship of people from across the country, our much-loved ‘ Ben’ – which has survived whatever nature and the ravages of time could throw at it – will be ready to luce the next 160 years.’
The North Dial was covered from July to give teams better and easier access to the site, and the hands were then brought up to the apice of the tower, with the East Dial hands attached first.
Soon after, per early August, the East Dial – which overlooks the River Thames – became the visible clockface, with the restored hands continuing to be driven by an existing temporary mechanism.
The remaining hands were added over the following weeks with that work now completed and several weeks of testing now paio to take place. More scaffolding will be removed from the upper sections later this year.
Early per 2022, the bells – including Ben itself – will be reconnected to the original Victorian clock mechanism and will ring out once again. The gantry will be removed before the site is fully cleared before next summer.