The Elizabeth Tower holding the iconic Big Ben bell needed some repair.

It was decided that this repair should go ahead.

So the parliamentary authorities called a restoration company, who presumably came and looked at h job and estimated £29 million to do the job over a period of four years.

Because of the proximity of workmen to the bell (and the fact that the parliamentary clock team were going to take the opportunity to repair and service the clock), it was estimated that the chimes of Big Ben would not be heard for four years while the work progressed. (Can you imagine what working in the bell tower while the massive bell rang out on the hour every hour every day, would do to people’s hearing?)

This caused an uproar in the houses of parliament and, even in the middle of Brexit worries, the exalted personage of the prime minister, her right honourable self, complained about the length of time that the bell would be silenced.

Mrs May said: “Of course we want to ensure people’s safety at work but it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years. And I hope that the Speaker, as the chairman of the House of Commons commission, will look into this urgently so that we can ensure that we can continue to hear Big Ben through those four years.”

Mrs May is good at making a lot of noise about little things, but less so when it comes to anything important.

Note from Munguin: This is an old story, Tris, what’s your point in raking it up again, amusing though it was.

OK, Munguin, keep yer scarf on. I’m getting to that.


There’s a load of large empty buildings in Newcastle. Why not move the whole thing there?


Anyway, it seems that the repairers weren’t too expert on the old estimating part of the job. And instead of the £29 million quoted a few months ago, it’s actually going to cost £61 million. Well, at least until the next update!

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons told the Press Association: “The commissioners expressed their disappointment in the cost increases, and the unreliability of the original estimate. But they  reiterated their commitment to preserving the Elizabeth Tower and Great Clock for future generations.”

Oh goodie!

Just two brief observations, then:

I assume that, given the more than doubling of the cost, the length of the project will increase by a similar proportion. So maybe 8-9 years before Big Ben is heard over London again? How will the MPs who were crying at the final “bongs” ever manage? What will May say?

And, of course, it is worth noting that the repairs to the tower are only a tiny part of the total renovation of the parliamentary buildings which has been variously estimated as costing £4 billion, £5.7 billion, and £7.1 billion and taking up to 30 years.

Does this mean that we can expect to pay up to £15 billion and wait over 60 years for the builders to finish?

Who organised this chaotic mess? Oh yeah, the British government! Nuff said.

Oh yeah, the British government! Nuff said.

And they think they can deliver Brexit????


56 thoughts on “BONG, £29 MILLION, BONG, £61 MILLION, BONG…???”

  1. So costs have risen just ever so slightly from £29 Million to £61 Million, big deal it’s not like it’s such a large increase is it?

    Damn it wrong specs on … thought we were discussing costs in PENNIES just realised were talking about costs in £’Millions.

    There again this is just chicken feed in terms of the original costs and new increase after all if Feartie can find over £1 Billion to hand over to the DUP what’s the problem with a a couple of £Million between friends then?

    I can just imagine, I have to imagine cause I don’t live in England you understand, all the Nurses, Police, Firemen and other Civil Servants will be dancing in the streets over the news that they will be getting NO pay rise AGAIN! *YAWN* Still everyone can rejoice in the news that the costs to repair this tower have doubled safe in the knowledge that by the time they have finally *YAWN* finished the costs will have increased yet again once if not twice!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Auch, right enough. I should save up my indignation for when it goes up a bit more, the next time, or the time after that… or when they finish it, get the bell in place, and on the first “bong” they remember that they forgot to do something and the whole lot goes sliding into the Thames.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What with all their tunnelling expertise from tunnelling all those tunnels for tubes and sewers that the rest of us help pay for because they are projects of national importance, if one considers the nation to be London and the Home Counties, instead of just tunnelling some more under the Palace of Westminster and making the Elizabeth Tower into the Leaning Tower of Lambeth or something and have Big Ben’s clapper all wedged up against one side, they should put great big caissons under the whole thing to stabilize the foundations. Once that’s done, they can pump in loads of readily available hot air so it can be floated off down the Thames to somewhere the refurbishments would cause less traffic congestion, dirt, noise, and general nuisance. Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, maybe.

        Of course, it would be a terrible tragedy if anyone were to let the air out somewhere very far from land, sort of accidentally on purpose, unless they had a lifejacket on, and a liferaft with a radio beacon.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Paid for from the magic money tree that always exists for thing they want. It of course goes dormant for anything else like decent services and nurses pay. It seems British nationalists can’t be trusted with infrastructure projects (Edinburgh trams etc). However the SNPBAD can deliver under budget. Still the SNP are incompetent (copyright msm) aren’t they….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, this magic money tree has been nothing but bother to me. Ever since May first found out you can shake it and loadsamoney comes falling down out of it (on selective occasions), Munguin has been on at me to plant a few dozen of them in the extensive grounds of Munguin Towers.

      So off I go to Dobbies, B&Q and Asda looking for them… and will anyone sell me one?

      Will they hell.

      It seems that you have to be a Tory to get one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooh, I’ve just had a great idea! What with privatization being all the rage, and paying for services and all that, if MPs in the ruling party want their sapient words of truth and wisdom to be heard throughout the nations of the earth, and even England, Parliament TV should charge them for the privilege! At least £5,000 for up to five minutes, and £6,000 unless you want your spot to be followed by a commercial for incontinence pants or erectile dysfunction!

        Members of the Cabinet pay double, Prime Ministers triple. For Chancellors of the Exchequer, the rate starts at £1.5 billion, as they have the money tree.

        There. No more filibustering. Sorted. Except for the extremely long budget speeches.

        The levy would also pay for incentives to opposition party members to be paid extra to actually show up, speak in the Commons on Parliament TV, and actually do some shouting. SNP MPs would, of course, receive nothing, because reasons, and Plaid the same. The DUP will unaccountably be accounted an opposition party for this purpose, of course, and receive more than all the others put together.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Big Ben has made such a significant contribution to our welfare that we cannot begrudge the
    insignificant and paltry sums of money involved and neither should we complain about improved facilities for her majesty, her off-springs and her noble lords. Anyone with an ounce of charity in their hearts can see that….

    Any chance of photos of Chinese (Mandarin) golden wood ducks on ‘Soppy’? No, Niko, they are not made of wood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope, then, that Big Ben, in its reduced state, will be able to help all the poor people who are going to suffer this Christmas as the DWP switch over to the new system of Universal Benefit, full, as it is, of flaws. May’s Poll Tax.

      Get ready to contribute more to the foodbanks.

      There is an outside chance that a duck made of Mandarin Orange Wood may well appear fleeting in tomorrow’s edition of SS. No, silly not THAT SS!


  4. today’s Telegraph has front page headline that Davidson has shown May how to win. 13 MP’s out of 59 – with a Tory win like this over the UK, Corbyn’s a shoo-in.

    Pardon the text-as-serial – not a new style, just a stray digit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keeps the excitement going. Apparently, Ruth is the second favourite to be the next Tory leader after the FCS.

      So… erm… good luck to her.

      I’d love to see that!


    1. PS Conan…….I failed to convey appropriate congratulations. Based on an inference from your test messages that have shown up over the last day or two, (and my own considerable personal experience in this regard,) I suspect that you have discovered that WordPress in all its perversity can be forced to bend to your will. You simply can’t be intimidated by it, and not afraid of a good fight.

      And a nod to Tris BTW, who has remained in remarkably good humor during my endless postings about my war with WordPress. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

          1. And BTW……I see that Conan the Librarian now has the power to “LIKE” a MR posting. I liked the power to LIKE myself, when I finally figured out how.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Back to the big, Big Ben renovation.

    I can give you a price now mate but you know ow it is wiv these things. You don’t really know till you start pullin bits off and see wots underneath.

    Some o them Georgian builders was a bunch o cowboys and that’s a fact.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Does time itself…….as one coordinate of the Einsteinian four-dimensional fabric of spacetime…….actually stop in England when Big Ben is not operating? Just curious!

    And……SORRY……but I can’t let this opportunity pass by without an entry in the “everything is bigger in America” contest.

    The first stars and galaxies formed as early as 100 Million years after the big bang. (When the universe was less than 1% of its present age of 13.8 Billion years.) But these structures have never been seen by mortal man. They are located near the far edge of the observable universe, and their unimaginably faint light arrives at earth redshifted by expanding space out of the visible light spectrum into the mid-infrared (heat energy) spectrum from 0.6 to 27 micrometer wavelengths.

    To see these structures in their redshifted heat energy radiation requires a huge space telescope with a giant mirror positioned in the deep cold beyond the Moon at L2…….the second Legrangian point of the earth-moon-sun gravitational system. Finishing touches are being applied to this telescope as we speak…….designated the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)……which NASA will launch to L2 in the Spring of 2019. The effort is a joint mission between NASA, the European Space agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.

    So what could possibly have gone wrong? Well there’s the little matter of the cost and schedule overrun. The JWST was originally estimated to cost $1.6 Billion with a launch in 2011. It appears that the final cost will be more like $10 Billion, with the Americans paying about $8 Billion and the Europeans and Canadians picking up the rest of the tab. All this will have been accomplished eight years over schedule.

    So I submit a 6.25 X……525 PERCENT……cost overrun in the range of Billions, and an eight YEAR schedule overrun as a “bigger in America” item. But we do have to share the honor with Canada and the continent of Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We must take the honors that come our way. 😉

        People actually NOTICE that clock of course…..or the lack thereof…..LOL.

        That $8.4 Billion cost overrun did get very serious attention. In fact, the $8 Billion American cost is a spending cap imposed by an act of Congress…….in exchange for not actually cancelling the JWST program years ago.

        So if the rocket doesn’t get the telescope to L2 for some reason, heads will roll at NASA till hell wouldn’t have it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. PS Tris: And there’s also the fact you pointed out that the Big Ben restoration is part of the larger project of the Houses of Parliament which is getting right up there with JWST proportions.

        I can’t figure out how Theresa May will manage to keep the bell chiming while the work is proceeding. Maybe a timed recording which plays from loudspeakers outside the tower and safely remote from the ears of the workmen inside. We can work this out I think. Perhaps she could contact me. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Um. Danny. When Americans say “England” they tend to mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
      I once got a letter from a dear friend from Washington. The last line of the address was “Scotland, England”.

      He got a severe bollocking.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ouch! Scotland, England, is bad even by American standards. But Her Majesty is always called the “Queen of England” here now that I think of it.

        BTW, I see you got a snappy avatar too. Nice! 🙂


  7. After WW1 the magnificent Cloth Hall In Ypres was left just a pile of rubble.
    It was subsequently totally rebuilt and today looks as if it had never suffered near total destruction in WW1.

    Compared with the cost of the proposed renovation of The Elizabeth Tower it would be interesting to see if it would be cheaper to demolish it and rebuild using as much of the original materials as possible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When the old wood timber interior framing of the American White House was collapsing in the late 1940’s, a cost estimate showed that the least costly way to repair it was to just knock it all down and rebuild it. But it was determined that the stone walls had too much historical importance to knock them down. (Some of the scorch marks from the British burning in 1814 are still there.) So the interior of the building was completely gutted, and only the exterior stone walls were left standing. Then the new steel framed interior was rebuilt with the steel beams angled in through window openings and lowered down through the open roof. Today, the interior looks perfectly like the old, but is in fact entirely new construction.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Talking-up Scotland

NOT conflating the aberrant with the norm like BBC

The Dunglishman

The bilingual blog about all things British


Love, theatre and ideas

British Wildlife & Photography


Why Scotland should be an independent country


Thoughts about Scotland & the world, from a new Scot

Divided We Fall

Bipartisan dialogue for the politically engaged

Insightful Geopolitics

Impartial Informative Always

Black Isle Media

We Provide The Facts, You Make The Decisions

The Broad Spectrum Life

Exploring Rhymes, Reasons, and Nuances of Our World

Musical Matters...

Mark Doran's Music Blog

George Blamey-Steeden

Guitarist / Songwriter

Best in Australia

This site supports Scottish Independence


A comic about history and stuff by FT

My Life as Graham

The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories


The greatest site in all the land!

Mark Explores

Nature + Health

%d bloggers like this: