They cleaned the Big Ben clocktower and now its iconic hands are blue

A photo shows the restored clock face on Elizabeth Tower, displaying the original Prussian blue color of the hands, on September 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower also known as Big Ben, has been under restoration work since 2017 as it was discovered that its clock hands were originally blue instead of black.
A photo shows the restored clock face on Elizabeth Tower, displaying the original Prussian blue color of the hands, on September 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • London’s Big Ben clock tower got its original blue minute and second hands back after cleaning.
  • The ongoing restoration project, which began in 2017, is set to finish next year, Reuters said.
  • The restoration to London’s 177-year-old landmark is costing 80 million pounds, or $US111 ($AU151) million.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

London may be known for its gray skies, but the city just received a new splash of color.

The years-long restoration project on London’s iconic “Big Ben” clock tower inched closer to competition with the return of its minute and second hands, restored back to their original Persian blue color, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Big Ben’s restoration to refurbish the stonework and repaint the ironwork began in 2017, and is set to finish next year. Restorers discovered while working on the £80-million ($US111 ($AU151)-million) project that London’s 177-year-old famous landmark originally had blue-painted hands, not black ones.

The tower’s bell has rarely chimed during the restoration and upon completion, Londoners can expect to hear that familiar sound 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,” Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, told Reuters.

Photo taken on Dec. 31, 2020 shows the Big Ben of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain. Britain and the European Union EU have started a new chapter in their relationship as the Brexit transition period ended at 2300 2300 GMT on Thursday.
Big Ben with its old hands, seen on Dec. 31, 2020 in London, Britain. Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images
The clock hands of Big Ben are blue
Big Ben with its new blue hands on September 8, 2021. Peter Summers/Getty Images