UK's Big Ben tower gets the blues as clock hands return

LONDON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The restoration of Britain’s iconic "Big Ben" tower at the Houses of Parliament has moved closer to completion with the return of the hands on its famous clock, now restored to their original Prussian blue colour.

The 177-year-old tower has been swathed in scaffolding since 2017 when craftsmen began work to refurbish its stonework, reglaze the four clock dials, and repaint the ironwork.

The 80 million pound ($111 million) restoration project is due to be completed next year, when the famous 13-tonne Big Ben bell, which has been largely silenced while the work has been carried out, will chime again.

"While we are all longing for the sound of Big 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," said Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons.

During work on the 96-metre-tall (315 ft) Elizabeth Tower, restorers discovered that the clock hands were originally painted blue rather than black.

($1 = 0.7228 pounds)

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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