Saturday, 24 March 2012

Still standing: Big Ben

James Hobbs, Clock Tower, Westminster
Big Ben is leaning, it has been announced by surveyors, although at 0.26 degrees (about 8.5 inches at the height of the clock) it will take, they somehow estimate, about 10,000 years to reach the same angle as the tower at Pisa, which is standing at around four degrees.

Despite the tower’s minor tilt, it is apparent to the naked eye. From across Westminster Bridge it leans slightly to the right. For the sake of political balance, from Parliament Square it leans slightly to the left. (There’s no comfortable Liberal Democrat viewpoint, but it seems few want to view anything from that angle anyway.)

The tower’s gradually shift, hardly helped by having the Jubilee tube line running beneath it, isn’t being treated as an emergency. Renovation work isn’t expected to start before 2020. If you’re coming to London for the Olympics, it should still be standing.

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