The reconstruction of Dresden's famous cathedral is set to be crowned on Tuesday by a British-built cross.
The 21ft (6.4m) gold cross sat uneasily in bright morning sunshine on the pavement alongside the Frauenkirche cathedral in central Dresden.

Why is it necessary to write 'British-built' here? I would simply write 'British built' . I know the words 'British-built' is an adjective to the noun 'cross'.

Without the hyphen, they are two separate adjectives giving two separate facts: the cross was British (I assume it's not, it sounds like it was German), and it was built (eg not carved, not knitted, not a natural phenomenon, etc.).

The hyphen relates the two adjectives, and thus tells me that the building of the cross was done by British workers.

Best wishes, Clive
Thanks Clive

Please look at the following sentences of the above.

Nearby, a huge crane waited to lift it into place on top of the church dome, for the crowning moment of a reconciliation process that has lasted nearly 60 years - and is not entirely over yet.

The Frauenkirche is the symbol of the bombing of Dresden, a huge British attack in 1945 that killed 35,000 people in a ferocious firestorm.

My question is on the hyphen. Is it a hyphen or a dash?

I would just write a comma instead of the hyphen.

.......... has lasted nearly 60 years, and it is no entirely over yet.
[ I think the word 'it' has strong significance here. I don't know why it is correct to eliminate the pronoun 'it'.]
Permit me to butt in, since Clive is not online for the moment (will you excuse me, Clive?)...

I think a comma and a dash (US E)/hyphen (BrE) do not have the same value. Should you add a comma, it's like just staing a fact. With the hyphen, you create some kind of parenthesis between you and the reader. A hyphen is much more effective in this instance, well, for me.
Thanks pleanne

What about the pronoun 'it' ?
Sorry, I had overlooked that one...

In the original sentence, "it" can be droppped because it's used in both sentences - you can do without it in the second one-. The use of the hyphen secures its value.
Hi guys,

I agree with Pieanne.

I'd also like to add that I'd consider the ' - ' to be a dash, for a break in the meaning, rather than a hyphen, which joins two words.

Dashes can be used very effectively, but my advice is that they should also be used very sparingly. Writing that is full of dashes can become very annoying.

Best wishes, Clive
So the word hyphen is BrE and dash is AmE. I didn't know it.

Please correct me if I misunderstood.

So the word hyphen is BrE and dash is AmE. I didn't know it.

No, that's not what I meant. In North American English, the words 'dash' and 'hyphen' are both used, but with different meanings, ie:
a dash marks a break in the meaning

a hyphen joins two words

I thought this was equally true of British English, but perhaps someone could confirm or correct that?

Best wishes, Clive