Big Ben spire to be revealed in ‘key moment’ for restoration; Lucia Binding; Sky News

Parts of the iconic British landmark, officially named the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, will again be visible from Monday.

Source: Big Ben spire to be revealed in ‘key moment’ for restoration

Advertisements

Big Ben facts – How old is the Elizabeth Tower, when was it built and how does the clock keep time? Everything you need to know; Maryse Godden; The Sun

BIG BEN’S famous bongs have marked the hour in London with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years. The Elizabeth Tower – home to the bells – has been keeping for 160 years…

Source: Big Ben facts – How old is the Elizabeth Tower, when was it built and how does the clock keep time? Everything you need to know

Best cities for culture in 2019 revealed and a UK one’s made the top 10; Julie Delahaye; Mirror

file-20190407-115773-rxdj7h

Read more from source

A leaky roof and a democratic crisis within – what better time to get serious about redesigning Westminster?; Alexandra Anderson & Alexandra Meakin; Conversation

As MPs flounder over Brexit, rain is leaking into the House of Commons. Was there ever a more fitting time to discuss what this building is for and what it should look like?

Source: A leaky roof and a democratic crisis within – what better time to get serious about redesigning Westminster?

Churches that tell a story; Resham Sengar; Times of India

Christmas holidays are the best times to visit those churches that pull off the festival spectacularly. We are referring to all the basilicas and churches that offer impressive decorations, lively Christmas carols, and an ambiance that invokes the right fervour in you…

Source: Churches that tell a story

World Heritage status – a blessing or curse?; Ike Ijeh; BD Online

After 30 years as a World Heritage Site, the Tower of London faces being delisted. Does it matter?

Source: World Heritage status – a blessing or curse?

Six ways to fix Parliament Square – and make it the centrepiece London deserves; Clive Aslet; Country Life

It was Edward the Confessor who first concentrated English power at Westminster. But for years, the space at its heart – Parliament Square – has been an unsatisfactory urban muddle at the heart of London. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Big Ben – or more properly the Elizabeth Tower – was the most-photographed building in Britain in 2017. However, at present, it is not a space calculated to inspire, impress or delight. A visit involves jostling along crowded pavements and being corralled between unsightly security barriers. The wide roads are busy with fast-moving traffic; step back to admire the architecture and you risk being crushed by a bus or lorry. But there is hope.  …Continue reading »

Source: Six ways to fix Parliament Square – and make it the centrepiece London deserves – Country Life

Parliament declares war on plastic after MPs, peers and workers throw away 750,000 coffee cups a year; Ben Glaze; Daily Mirror

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

Parliament gets through more than 750,000 throwaway coffee cups, 125,000 plastic bottles and 335,000 sachets of condiments every year, Westminster bosses revealed today.

Chiefs plan to “drastically” curb the culture of single-use plastics across the estate by next year in a huge clampdown inspired by Blue Planet II.

It includes axing plastic carrier bags in gift shops and plastic cutlery and straws in cafes and bars, in moves to “virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics” from the Commons and the Lords.

From this summer, plastic bottles of mineral water will no longer be on sale – immediately removing 125,000 items from its yearly waste haul.

Instead, there will be more water dispensers across the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Parliament will stop buying non-recyclable disposable cups, instead opting for a compostable alternative.

It currently disposes of almost 753,000 coffee cups each year but they cannot be recycled due to the plastic coatings which make them watertight.

Ministers, businesses and civic leaders have launched a massive crackdown on plastics since David Attenborough’s iconic Blue Planet II series last year, highlighting the affects of plastics on the oceans.

 

Read more from source

Inside Parliament: Ever Fancied Being A Commons Tour Guide? Now’s Your Chance; Kate Forrester; Huffington Post

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

Vast and sprawling, with dozens of hidden chambers and corners, the Houses of Parliament are tricky to navigate even for veteran pass holders.

But there’s one dedicated team who, between them, have everything covered – and they are hiring new members.

The visitors services team are responsible for showing everyone who comes to Parliament around the UNESCO World Heritage site – from A-list celebrities to school trips.

HuffPost UK caught up with Amy Treble, one of their operations managers, whose career in the Commons began as a tour guide, as her department prepares to recruit 28 new visitor engagement assistants.

“When you start out in the job, it can be a little bit daunting because you have to figure out where all the different rooms are, all the different routes, where the step-free access is [for disabled visitors],” she said.

“I remember being so totally overwhelmed when I first started, and then someone asked me to go and do an escort by myself.  I thought I couldn’t do it, but then you do it and it’s great and you realise that you can.

Read more from source

British MPs vote to move out of Westminster for repairs; Rosie Scammell; AFP

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

London (AFP) – British MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of moving out of their historic Westminster home, to make way for major renovation work of the iconic Houses of Parliament.

Lawmakers backed the decision for a “full and timely decant” of parliament by 234 votes to 185, paving the way for a multi-billion-pound revamp of the dilapidated complex.

“This debate arguably should have taken place about 40 years ago,” said House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom at the start of the debate.

“The Palace of Westminster is the seat of our democracy, an iconic world-famous building and it is in dire need of repair,” she added.

Much of the Palace dates from the mid-1800s, while Westminster Hall was built in 1099.

The complex is part of the UNESCO Westminster World Heritage Site and includes the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower housing Big Ben, which is already undergoing work.

Conditions are considered dire, with a Commons committee listing fire, sewage inundation and electrical failure among possible risks if urgent repairs are not carried out.

Source: British MPs vote to move out of Westminster for repairs

Decanters vs Stayers to vote on plan for up to £5bn ‘fire risk’ Parliament repairs; Robert Nisbet; Sky News

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

MPs could decide to relocate the Commons and the Lords for six years – or kick the issue into the long-grass.

A multi-billion pound restoration project to shore up the crumbling Palace of Westminster could finally be agreed today.

MPs from a joint committee warned in 2016 that unless urgent action was taken, one of the UK’s most famous buildings could be at risk of a “catastrophic event”.

The neo-Gothic exterior was created by Charles Barry to mirror Westminster Abbey, with its extravagant interior designed by Augustus Pugin.

The steam-heated building – with its basements a tumble of wires, pipes and cables – was the scene of seven fires in 2017, while there were two hundred reported “toilet failures”.

But many have said action needs to be taken to fix it, with the outgoing senior parliamentary official Black Rod warning it could become “another Grenfell”.

The famous Big Ben bell has already been silenced while urgent work is carried out on the Elizabeth Tower, but consultants say there are serious structural issues throughout the estate.

Source: Decanters vs Stayers to vote on plan for up to £5bn ‘fire risk’ Parliament repairs

MPs are making the refit of Parliament all about them. It isn’t; Isabel Hardman; The Spectator

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

Theresa May likes to avoid awkward rows at all costs: that much we already know. Today’s papers carry two stories showing this: she is said to be abandoning plans to give a Brexit speech just in case it causes further divisions in her Cabinet, and is also racking up what The Times estimates is a £230 million bill by delaying the refurbishment of Parliament.

Both the Cabinet and Parliament are dangerously unstable, with chunks falling from them every day. The latter, though, has been here a long time, is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and attracts vast numbers of tourists. Philip Hammond and Greg Clark don’t raise quite so much interest, oddly.

The Conservatives are keen to push back the decision on the works until after the 2022 general election because they are worried that taxpayers will be angry about the huge bill that it will incur.

Source: MPs are making the refit of Parliament all about them. It isn’t. | Coffee House

Andrea Leadsom Warns MPs They Must Decide If Costly Parliament Refurb Is Justified; Kate Forrester; Huffington Post

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

‘At a time of great fiscal constraints, it is a genuinely open decision.’

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom says MP must make a decision on whether a costly refurbishment of Parliament is justified in the current economic climate.

The restoration and renewal of the Grade I-listed Palace of Westminster – which is partly sinking, contains asbestos and has outdated cabling – will be debated again later this month.

A 2012 report warned the building could suffer “major, irreversible damage” if significant work to restore it is not carried out.

But the works would mean significant upheaval and could see Parliamentarians moved out of the building for a long period of time while they are undertaken.

Leadsom told MPs on Friday that the issue would come back before the Commons on Wednesday, January 31 in the form of two government motions.

Read more

The 10 Best Westminster Abbey Tours, Trips & Tickets – London; Viator

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
A UNESCO World Heritage site, with a legacy dating back more than 1,000 years, Westminster Abbey is among London’s most historic landmarks. The Gothic church is best known for hosting headline-grabbing events involving the British royal family, such as the Queen’s coronation, Princess Diana’s funeral, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
The Basics
A tour of Westminster Abbey is like taking a walk through British history. Explore independently with an audio guide, on a tour led by a verger (church official), or with a private guide. Tickets include access to all the main areas of the church. The London Pass also grants access to Westminster Abbey.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Booking in advance will help you avoid waiting in long lines.

Read more

London’s Big Ben Will Be Silent Until 2021 — and Some Brits Are Furious; Alexander Smith; NBC News

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

London’s Big Ben was built 158 years ago, two years before the American Civil War. This week it is at the center of a nationwide storm over its famous chimes.

LONDON — Who knew repairing a clock could provoke such outrage?

But this isn’t just a case of winding up an antique timepiece gathering dust in the hall. This is the 315-foot tower commonly known as Big Ben, the iconic landmark synonymous with London’s skyline.

Built 158 years ago, Big Ben has this week found itself at the center of a nationwide storm.

Politicians fumed and newspapers seethed after it came to light the Great Bell would fall silent on Monday, dinging its last dong until 2021 while construction workers carry out £29 million of repairs (around $37 million).

Read more

Big Ben facts – how tall is the Elizabeth Tower, when was it built and how does it keep time? Everything you need to know; Maryse Godden; The Sun

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

Elizabeth Tower – home to the bells and the most photographed building in Britain – is undergoing restoration work.

BIG Ben’s famous bongs have marked the hour in London with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years.

The Elizabeth Tower – home to the bells – will be silenced for four years from August 21 as £29million restoration work is carried out – here’s some facts about Britain’s most famous clock.

Who named Big Ben?

It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria but Londoners started calling the bell “Big Ben” and the name stuck.

The origin of the nickname remains the subject of some debate.

It is believed Big Ben was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the installation of the Great Bell.

 

Read more

24 astonishing facts about Big Ben’s history as it’s revealed the bongs are gone for a long time; Ben Glaze; Mirror Online

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

Big Ben bonged for the last time on Monday before falling silent for the longest period in its 158-year history – and what a history.

Big Ben bongs for the last time on Monday before falling silent for four years – the longest period in its 158-year history.

The Elizabeth Tower, home to the Great Clock and the world’s most famous bell, is undergoing a £29million restoration.

The bell will be paused until 2021 to keep workers safe. But it will still ring out on New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said: “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project.

“The public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.”

Read more

British Parliament’s Big Ben to fall silent for four years; Euronews

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

The Big Ben bell is set to fall silent for the longest period in its 157-year history as part of an extensive renovation project, the House of Commons said on Monday.

The bell’s famous bongs will cease on Monday 21 August and will not ring out through Westminster again until 2021, although it will be brought back into service for special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock itself, which will then be carefully dismantled and refurbished. One working clock face powered by an electric motor will continue to tell the time until the original clockwork mechanism is restored.

 

Read more

The Most Visited Historic Sites In England; WorldAtlas.com

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

England’s rich and long history is well-presented and well-preserved in these historic sites in the country.

10. Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, located in the city of Kent, is the 10th most visited historic site in England. The castle, as it is known today, was built in 1119 AD on islands in a lake formed by Len River. The site where the castle sits, however, has been important since as early as 857 AD, when it held a wooden structure owned by Leed, a Saxon chief. In 1976, the castle was opened to the public and in 2009, it received 646,801 visitors. Leeds Castle was once home to an aviary from 1980 to 2012, however, the foundation closed it for budgetary purposes. Today, tourists can make their way through the on-site grotto and maze, play a round of golf, and visit the dog collar museum.

 

Read more

House of Commons fears a ‘lethal level’ of asbestos in ventilation system; Caroline Wheeler; Daily Express

UK – Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church

AIR CONDITIONING in the House of Commons chamber has been permanently turned down amid fears that a “lethal level” of asbestos is lurking in the ventilation system.

According to a senior Whitehall source, House of Commons authorities have previously been forced to consider an emergency evacuation of the Commons after deadly levels of asbestos were registered in the chamber.

Despite a second reading being ordered, which suggested the quantities had been reduced to a “safe level” the authorities have taken the decision to permanently turn down the air condition system to reduce any risk.

This comes just days after a committee of MPs urged members and peers to vacate the crumbling Palace of Westminster for at least six years while vital repair work is carried out.

Read more