London's Big Ben is leaning, sinking

2012-01-23 21:46

kalahari.com

London - The landmark clock tower containing Big Ben at Britain's Palace of Westminster, is tilting, while media reports on Monday said the mother of all parliaments was slipping into the River Thames, raising fears over its future.

The House of Commons commission, which is responsible for the upkeep of the 19th century neo-Gothic parliamentary estate popular with tourist photographs, was due to meet on Monday.

Media reports said it would discuss a surveyor's report which could recommend lawmakers move out for repairs costing up to £1bn, while the Daily Telegraph said another proposal might be to sell to Russian or Chinese developers for about £500m.

But a commission spokesperson said there was no surveyor's report, and members were only meeting to discuss setting up a group to look at general long-term renovation of the grade 1-listed building designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin.

"I think there's been twos and twos added together and come up with we are selling to the Russians, but they won't be talking about anything like that," the spokesperson said.

The 96m tall clock tower, which houses the bell originally nicknamed Big Ben, leans about 46cm to the left of its peak.

A construction expert who worked on the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy and a multi-storey car park under the houses of parliament in central London, said there was nothing to worry about, and it would take 10 000 years to reach an angle of concern.

Professor John Burland of Imperial College London also said work on the underground Jubilee train line in the 1990s had not caused dramatic movement, while a spokesperson for the commission said the tilt could have existed since its construction in 1859.

The lean which is just visible to the naked eye had "been there for years," Burland said.

Buildings lean a bit

"When I first started work on the car park it was obvious that it was leaning," he told BBC radio.

"It was probably developed at a very early stage because there's no cracking in the cladding and we think it probably leant while they were building it and before they put the cladding on.

"That was a long time ago and buildings do lean a little bit."

He also dismissed concern in the media that parliament was slipping into the Thames, while the commission's spokesperson denied the walls around the palace were suffering from a particularly bad subsidence problem causing Big Ben to lean.

The current building, which houses the upper and lower chambers as well as the offices of some lawmakers, was built after its medieval predecessor was largely destroyed by fire in 1834 and has required constant maintenance.

"There's no such thing as an old building that isn't cracked," he said.

"In fact they're beneficial because the building moves thermally more than is caused by the Jubilee Line and the movements concentrated around the cracks and, if they didn't, there'd be cracking elsewhere.

"So these have been there for years and they're certainly not caused by the Jubilee Line or the car park."

Read more on:    uk
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

7 tips for the ultimate family camping trip

Taking the kids on a camping trip can be one of the most memorable holidays they will ever have!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

BASE jump off the world’s tallest building!
Stand up paddler rides over shark!
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.