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Big Ben*, the icon of London, has turned blue. Except it hasn't 'turned' blue exactly — it's simply reverted to its original colour. The clock face was blue when built in 1859, but over time it turned black due to a London that was even more polluted than our city is today. When it got its last fresh coat of paint in the 1980s, they just stuck with simple black.
If you’re visiting us or passing by you might notice something different about Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower.— UK Parliament (@UKParliament) March 21, 2019
The North Dial has had a makeover and we can now reveal the original design of Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin. What do you think?#BigBen pic.twitter.com/8rtj7460X1
Big Ben is currently undergoing a four-year refurbishment and until today, three of the four clock faces had been covered by scaffolding. One side was peeled back this morning — presumably to then cover the face that had been on display up to this point — to reveal this fresh paintjob.
We can't help wonder about the timing. Big Ben turns blue as we're in the midst of this Brexit debacle? Could it possibly tie into plans for us to get blue passports once we're out of the EU? Scratch that, apparently this hue is dubbed 'Prussian blue', so perhaps it's a statement of our everlasting ties to Europe. Delete whichever of those two scenarios makes you madder.
*Usual caveat about pedantry applies.