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Big Ben

I’ve watched hundreds of tourist vlogs over the last few years, and one theme was constant... seeing people’s disappointment at ‘Big Ben’ being under construction, or renovation. It’s not quite finished, but the scaffolding is slowly coming down. As someone born and bred in London my entire life thus far, I can’t wait to see an old friend again. Found a nice, and fairly short overview of what’s been going on, and thought others might enjoy it also.

Hope everyone is staying safe during this difficult time.

Posted by
5011 posts

I think that most travelers learn a surprising and slightly painful lesson on their first visit to Europe: old things - including the iconic monuments you have dreamed of seeing on your trip - need maintenance, and sometime the very things that you have traveled so far to see are closed or covered up with scaffolding and a tarp. It's part of the bargain. You get to see amazing, wonderful, things. A few of them (hopefully just a few) may be partially or fully covered. This happens to everyone. You are full of anticipation, excited to see that famous thing, you come closer, you sense the moment you have been waiting for is near, you turn a corner, and there it is, in all it's glory, and, and....oh, awwww. It's being renovated. : (

I try to just shrug, chuckle a little bit at myself, and make the best of it. Sometimes you get that picture you had been hoping for, sometimes you buy the post card.

Hopefully by the time we can all travel again (whenever that will be) the pictures will show Big Ben without any scaffolding or covering tarps.

Posted by
83 posts

My mother had a photo taken in front of Big Ben in the 1940's. I was going to try and get a photo of myself in the same spot on my trip in September - scaffolding and all. Still hoping my trip happens!!!

Posted by
1906 posts

I'm looking forward to seeing it for the first time. It's childish but by best memory of Big Ben is when I was a boy and watched Disney's Peter Pan and Peter is standing on one of the clock's arms. That image is still with me and it's how I think of the clock and tower. Possibly setting myself up for disappointment when Peter doesn't fly by???

Posted by
3899 posts

It was my 3rd visit to Venice before I finally saw the Bridge of Sighs in all it's glory (we went 3 times in 6 yrs). Same - first trip to Rome the fountain of the four rivers was totally covered. Second visit we saw it but Trevi Ftn was being cleaned up.

Just a good excuse to go back if you have the means!

Posted by
2710 posts

Mike J., thank you for that amazing video! Truly an up-close look at the restoration. Fortunately we saw it on several occasions before the scaffolding and wraps were put up. It was always a beautiful sight at night with the clock faces lit up.

Allan, be sure to see the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens when you go.
It is a bronze sculpture of J. M. Barrie's character, commissioned by Barrie in 1912.
To the north of the park is Paddington Station and the area known as Bayswater.
Barrie's former home is on Bayswater Road, with a blue plaque on the side of the building.
100 Bayswater Road is where he lived and where he wrote Peter Pan.

From the Royal Parks website, here's a map to guide you to the Peter Pan statue:

Posted by
1012 posts

I was lucky to get on a tour of Elizabeth Tower before they were closed to foreigners-even though 7/7 bombing was by British citizens, but I digress. The Victorian mechanics and actually climbing the tower to see and hear Big Ben and looking out over the River Thames was incredible.

Posted by
1173 posts

Thank you so much for posting this video! Found it very informative and interesting. I was supposed to go to London for two weeks this May, but of course that is cancelled. But I hope to go back ( been to your wonderful city several times) when this is all over.

Maybe you can tell me, during this time, is any work being done on "Big Ben" or has all work stopped for now?

Thanks, so interested in seeing it completed.

Posted by
628 posts

Ann, glad you enjoyed the video. I’ve not been into central London for a number of weeks now so don’t know if work is continuing. My guess is, that it is.

I work in the construction industry, albeit office based rather than site based, and many of the sites we are contracted to have continued during the lockdown (not of our company’s choice) and more are returning to work each week. Our company has gone above and beyond to make sure our staff are as safe as possible. I’m just an employee, not an owner, so not big’ing up my own efforts.

I usually go into central London every week for a long walk (20k+ steps) and some street food... i’m really starting to miss it now, but staying home and staying safe is more important at the moment.

Posted by
1173 posts

Thank you Mike for your response. I am glad to know that your company is making a huge effort to keep every safe. I totally understand missing your walks. I miss going into Manhattan and walking around and seeing friends. I also am sad I won't being going to London this year. I was really looking forward to it. But what can you do, just trying to keep busy and say safe.

Again, thanks for keeping me updated. If you hear anything about Big Ben, please keep me posted. When this is all over and it will be once they develop a vaccine, and if I am able, I will rebook my trip to London. It is the first vacation I plan to take!


Posted by
5689 posts

Friendly reminder, it's Elizabeth Tower and clock that you see. Big Ben is the bell.

Will be lovely to see the iconic Parliament building and tower sans scaffolding on my next sojourn.

Great video. Thanks for sharing.