Big Ben is one of London’s – and the world’s – most famous landmarks (please don’t tell us that actually Big Ben is the bell inside and not the tower itself, we know). Unfortunately, since August 2017 the bell has been silenced and the iconic Elizabeth Tower that holds it covered in scaffolding as it undergoes vital renovation that is due to be completed in 2021.
Although the clock faces are still visible, the tower is otherwise unrecognisable. It seems that tourists arriving in London this summer aren’t too pleased about that. Many have taken to TripAdvisor to vent their frustration through negative reviews.
“Needless to say that our kids, who were extremely excited and looking forward to see the Big Ben up close, were terribly disappointed to see it covered in a black construction material as it seemed to be going through some renovations when we were there,” said user Prashanth S from Texas. “Big Ben, being the iconic symbol of London, needs to be left alone, at least during the busy summer time… Very disappointed with the timing of this repair !!!”
“If you plan on great photo ops in the upcoming months at the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben, DREAM ON! Your view is scaffolding until the Tower makeover is complete. :(” said user Karen R from Georgia, USA.
“This isn’t the Big Ben you’ve got in your head. Covered in scaffolding and completely obscured as of May 2018, you can barely even tell what you’re looking at,” said user LSUdad4 from Louisiana.
Some tourists have even gone so far as to cancel their trip to London all together as a result of the maintenance work.
“Decided to skip our London visit for the Big Ben is boarded up. At every visit we make these marvellous pictures at a telephone booth with the Big Ben as a backdrop. Now it is hardly worth going to London. Only for an Abbey Road picture? Nah!” said user Pieter H, who apparently can’t find anything worthwhile to do in London apart from photographing a big clock.
However, other reviewers have taken to the platform to defend their beloved Big Ben from the wave of negativity.
“I really can’t believe all the incredibly selfish people complaining and giving this one 2/1 star reviews. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your selfies you know!” said user Val G. “The critical work being carried out is to preserve this historical monument, without it it would no longer exist! Embarrassing and selfish people.”
“Do some research before you book a trip. Renovating a national and world treasure so it can be preserved for decades to come. A bunch of short sighted idiots. Grow Up,” said less level-headed user Jonathan G.
The ongoing repair work will see the roof of the Elizabeth Tower stripped off and restored, the bell frame repaired, leaks into the clock room fixed and a lift installed for better access. A brick enclosure in the tower will be replaced with glass so that Big Ben can be viewed by visitors walking up the staircase. While the scaffolding is up for the maintenance work, the bell will not be sounding apart from on Remembrance Sunday and to mark the New Year in order to protect the hearing of workers.
Despite the many disappointed reviewers taking to TripAdvisor to vent, others seem hardly to have even noticed the renovation work at all. “Its not as big as one would expect (that’s what she said). Should be called ‘Ben’,” said user jhay2015, before adding, “Wifi was a pile of kack.”
There’s no pleasing some people.