The Sheffield engineering firm helping to restore Big Ben
A Sheffield engineering firm has played a crucial role in the restoration of one of the most famous landmarks in Britain.
The Elizabeth Tower – or Big Ben as its commonly known – is undergoing its most significant restoration to date.
Companies from across the UK have played a part in the huge project, which is due to be finished next year – including Sheffield-based Shepley Engineers.
Shepley’s team had to remove every single piece of the Ayrton Light – a lantern-like structure installed in 1885 which shines whenever either House of Parliament sits after dark -from the top of the Elizabeth Tower, dismantling and restoring every nut and bolt.
Individual pieces were then transported to Sheffield, where Shepley Engineers marked and catalogued the structure prior to grit blasting and full reconstruction, at their base in Chapletown.
Yorkshire’s connection to the Elizabeth Tower runs into the very fabric of the building. The Tower –as well as the rest of the Palace of Westminster – was originally constructed with limestone from the Anston Quarry in Yorkshire. Anston stone was chosen because it was cheaper, could be carved more elaborately and was close to the Chesterfield canal – ideal for easy transport to London.
Yorkshire was once again chosen as the source of stone for the restoration – In 2017, stone was hewn from the Cadeby Quarry in Doncaster.
Cadeby rock is also a close match for the original Anston limestone, ensuring a consistent look throughout the Tower’s exterior.
The landmark attraction has been mostly silent since 2017, but works are scheduled to be complete by early in 2022.