Episode 4 - Secrets of London's Mega Palace
BLOWING UP HISTORY investigates Britain’s Houses of Parliament building, the Palace of Westminster, exposing its exoskeleton and exploding its bricks to explore the hidden secrets of this Victorian megastructure.
The Palace of Westminster is the most spectacular parliament building on the planet. To build it, Victorian engineers had to push technology to its limits, inventing new techniques that paved the way for the modern skyscrapers of today. Blow-apart CGI animation reveals every inch of this building’s groundbreaking design - from its innovative fireproof roof, constructed from thousands of cast iron tiles… to its famous clock, Big Ben, at the time the largest and most ambitious timepiece the world had ever seen… to it’s astonishing foundations that allowed engineers to build right into the path of the River Thames.
Despite its remarkable design, after 160, this palace is now in need of repairs. We join the crew at the heart of the biggest restoration project in the building’s history, who are uncovering its secrets as they work. Engineers on the rooftops carefully remove and lower the huge iron tiles to the ground, ready to be fixed. Down below, conservation specialists repair the building’s crumbling masonry, damaged by decades of rain and pollution. Inside we meet the team creating intricate replicas for the ornate floor tiles. Finally, deep underground we follow the engineers tunneling under London to extend the underground rail network. They reveal how an ingenious solution prevented Big Ben’s tower from collapsing into the tunnel below.
Stunning animation pulls apart the layers of this extraordinary building, to uncover the engineering mysteries at the heart of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.