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1899 - Eastgate Clock | by Mal 1005
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1899 - Eastgate Clock

Part of my "250 Years in Chester" set -


In 1872 the local architect John Douglas was asked to prepare a number of designs by Hugh Grosvenor who was at that time the 3rd Marquess of Westminster. The Marquess offered to pay half the cost of the project but the Chester Improvement Committee would not allow any council funds for it, and the scheme came to nothing. The idea was revived to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1896. At this time the 1st Duke of Westminster suggested that the city should support Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute of Nurses. Other ideas suggested at the time were a statue of Queen Victoria in the Town Hall square, or a clock in the Town Hall tower.


A committee was set up and, despite early support for the Queen's Institute and for general festivities, it was finally decided to erect a memorial tower and clock on Eastgate. John Douglas was again invited to prepare a design. His first design was for a stone structure costing £1,000 (£84,000 as of 2012). However a wooden model showed that this would restrict the daylight to the neighbouring properties. In October 1897 a meeting of the subscribers to the fund (who had by that time raised nearly £651 (£55,000 as of 2012), carried a motion to erect a light iron-work structure containing a clock. John Douglas prepared a new design which was approved in March 1898.


The clock mechanism was made by J. B. Joyce & Company of Whitchurch, Shropshire, who until 1974 supplied a technician to travel to Chester each week to wind it. The cast iron inscriptions on the clock were made by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company. The ironwork for the tower was made by the firm of James Swindley of Handbridge; James Swindley was John Douglas's cousin. The official opening of the clock was performed on 27 May 1899, which was Queen Victoria's 80th birthday.


However the date is bears is 1897?


I've lived in Chester for 40 years (my whole life). This is the second most photographed clock in Britain, if not the world. To me it's as much background as the sky, hardly noticed but always there.

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Taken on April 13, 2012