A documentary on the restoration of the iconic Big Ben clock tower
Big Ben, the most recognizable landmark in London, has undergone a massive renovation. Over the last century, exposure to pollution and the elements has taken its toll on the clock tower, which is also a symbol of Britain’s democratic heritage. After being silenced in 2017, the six-year renovation project began, with the goal of restoring Big Ben to its former glory. The restoration story is documented in the film Big Ben Restored: The Grand Unveiling, which takes viewers behind the scaffolding.
The restoration project involved a team of architects, engineers, historians, scientists, and master craftspeople. They meticulously stripped the tower down to its frame and repaired or replaced every detail. The documentary showcases the process of restoration, including visits to workshops where the craftspeople practiced ancient techniques, such as iron forging, glass blowing, metalworking, stone masonry, and gilding to recreate the Victorian architects’ original vision for the tower.
The unique access documentary, directed by Anna Keay, also unveils what Big Ben looked like when it was first built, which is different from the sombre, black-painted tower we have known for so long.
Airdate: Wednesday 22 March 2023 at 7.30pm on SBS.
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