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Big Ben damage from Nazi bombing worse than initially thought

The Elizabeth Tower situated at the heart of Westminster in London dealt with significant blows from German bombs during World War II. Now, experts were able to determine that the damage it took from the bombings was far worse than it was initially believed.

Experts revealed the news on Thursday as restoration bills for the tower increased by almost 20 million pounds ($25 million).

The 177-year-old clock tower is covered in scaffolding, and it has been for the past three years. This allows craftsmen to refurbish its aged stonework and bell along with repairs to its famous 12-tonne clock known as Big Ben. The scaffolding also allowed experts to take a closer look at the 315-foot (96m) structure. And they were able to detect damage caused by asbestos and exposure to pollution.

According to the House of Commons and House of Lords Commissions, they were told that restoring the tower to its former glory came with quite a hefty price tag. This meant that the budget will have to rise from
61.1 million to 79.7 million pounds.

Director general of the House of Commons Ian Ailles confirmed that the clock tower’s restorations faced more complexities than what was initially anticipated.

“… understanding the full extent of the damage to the tower was impossible until the scaffolding was up,” Ailles said in a press statement.

While the historic structure survived Nazi Bombing, its roof and clock dials took serious blows during an air raid in May 1941. The same raid completely destroyed the main House of Commons chamber.