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Thu Feb 13, 2020, 07:09 PM

The full extent of World War II damage to Big Ben has only just been discovered


London (CNN) Workers have discovered "extensive" World War II bomb damage on the tower that houses London's famous Big Ben clock, which will force the cost of restoring it to rise by 18.6 million ($24.3m).

In a statement, the House of Commons -- which is housed in an adjoining part of the same building -- said remnants from Nazi Germany's bombing campaign in London were discovered along with pollution and asbestos in the Elizabeth Tower -- more commonly known by the name of its iconic clock.

The 19th century Gothic building has been wrapped in scaffolding since 2017, and the cost of restorations will now rise from 61.1m to 79.7m ($79.7m to $104m). Plans are still on track to complete the restoration in 2021, the statement said.

Decay and damage to "hundreds of intricate carvings," an "extensive use" of toxic lead paint and broken glass in the clock dials were also discovered, and the commission managing the project said an additional clock expert was also needed.

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