TIME’S UP FOR CL0CK TOWER - Restoration work to start this year

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The iconic clock tower in Truro is due to be restored, with works due to commence in the autumn.

30th June 2021

By Juliet Lunam

Work is to start this year on restoring Truro’s historic clock tower, writes Juliet Lunam. The iconic timepiece, which sits atop City Hall, between Boscawen Street and Back Quay, has been shrouded in scaffolding for two years while work is carried out to the building. City Hall, which is Grade I llisted, houses the recently refurbished Hall for Cornwall theatre as well as Truro City Council with the Tourist Information Centre and Mayor’s Parlour.

The building dates back to 1846 but the clock tower was replaced after a fire in 1914 which left only the side of the tower facing Boscawen Street remaining in its original granite form.

The three lost sides were reconstructed using reinforced concrete and were rendered to give the appearance, from street level, of granite. Now, however, the steelwork used within the tower is badly corroded and surveyors have found it is structurally compromised. Cornwall Council says work will start in the autumn to dismantle and reconstruct the tower as well as refurbishing the bells, clock mechanism and faces.

David Harris, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “The clock tower is a landmark in Truro and it will be fantastic to see it restored. Once complete the reconstructed clock tower will visually appear exactly the same as the clock tower you see now, but it will have been fully restored ready to last another 100 years and more.”

Mayor of Truro, Steven Webb, said a town clock is a defining feature of any town. He added: “Here in Truro it is not only part of our heritage, but is used by many people to assist the business and commerce which keeps the town vibrant and prosperous to be conducted in a timely way. We also need to ensure, as good custodians of our public heritage, that a good and lasting job is done. Those chimes are part of our soundscape – as essential as birdsong.”

The council has consulted with Historic England and a planning condition has been discharged to allow for the dismantling work to take place. Subject to approval, the works are due to begin in the autumn, following the completion of the Hall for Cornwall’s refurbishment project.

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