The 177-year-old tower has been swathed in scaffolding since 2017 when craftsmen began work to refurbish its stonework, reglaze the four clock dials, and repaint the ironwork. The restoration project is due to be completed next year, when the famous 13-tonne Big Ben bell, which has been largely silenced while the work has been carried out, will chime again.
Now, in a dig to the UK, the German Embassy in London has boasted the original panes were created by a German company.
They tweeted: “As the restoration of Big Ben nears completion and the iconic dials become visible again, so too do the 1,300 German-made glass panes used in the tower’s refurb.
“The hand-blown panes were made by [German] company Glashütte Lamberts.”
The official Twitter account then shared a link to a YouTube clip of how the panes were made.
For the first time since the 1930s, six shields repainted in English red and white have become visible on the East dial of the iconic Westminster landmark.
For decades, the clock dials and the stonework surrounding them were painted in layers of black paint which became synonymous with Big Ben.
Experts believe the colour scheme was chosen to mask the effects of pollution.
But the iconic London landmark has been returned to its original glory by Parliament’s architects Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin.
READ MORE: SNP outrage as St George’s flag takes pride of place on Big Ben
“The dials and clock hands are Prussian blue and gold and the adjacent areas make use of the red, white and blue colours of the Union flag.”
But not everyone is happy with the restored design and some SNP members have claimed the St George shields above all four dials show that “England ruled the roost in the UK”.
A senior party source added: “The placement of the flags seems to make clear about the dominance of England in the UK.”
SNP MPs Tommy Sheppard and Pete Wishart previously complained about the move to put St George’s flags across all four sides of Big Ben in 2018.
Mr Sheppard, Edinburgh East MP, said: “Maybe they are assuming that in the future the Union will be dissolved.”
Mr Wishart, who represents Perthshire North, added: “This is a welcome boost for Scottish independence as Westminster prepares to become an England-only parliament.
“People will, however, be forgiven for thinking that transition began long ago – as Scotland continues to be sidelined and ignored on the biggest issues facing our country.”
In a statement, Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “While we are all longing for the sound of Big Ben marking the time, and for the scaffolding to be removed from the tower – I think we will all agree at the unveiling next year, our patience has been worth it.”
The refurbishment was set to be finished this year but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.