Big Ben, the famed clock tower at the Palace of Westminster in central London, is beginning to lean, according to a survey that found the 315 foot belfry to be 1.5 feet off perpendicular.
The Telegraph reports that if this startling trend –- documented by those clever chaps at the London Underground and Parliamentary Estates Department -- continues apace, Big Ben will be at the same angle as the recently restored Leaning Tower of Pisa in about four millennia. Despite the smallness of the .26 degree angle, the surveyors were merely confirming what astute observers had already noticed.
The most alarming part of the study, a line claiming that tower’s movement had increased beginning in 2003. The lean has apparently already cracked the walls of the House of Commons.
A great deal of construction and destruction has occurred beneath the tower since it was finished in 1858, including the creation of an underground line, a car park and a sewer.
Only 48 visitors are currently allowed on the free daily clock tower tours up Big Ben because of the site’s significance and delicacy. The tours must be booked in advance.