Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Christchurch clock maintenance ticks over

The jewel in the crown of Christchurch’s Victoria Street has reopened after a meticulous year-long programme of conservation and maintenance work.

Ornate wrought iron detail on the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower has been repaired and repainted and gold surfaces stripped and re-gilded by hand.

Bespoke upper timber structures have been repaired and renewed along with specialist elemental repairs to the clock roundels. 

“The clock tower was carefully repaired and strengthed in 2014 after suffering damage as a result of the earthquakes. This current conservation work will extend its life so its beauty can be appreciated for years to come,” says Christchurch City Council Head of Vertical Capital Delivery, Darren Moses.

Problematic areas of water ingress have had protective membranes applied, giving protection from the elements.

He said the work was labour-intensive and presented a number of challenges due to the small footprint, height of the structure and age of some materials.

“With six levels up, it’s quite a compact environment with up to ten people on site so it’s been a matter of co-ordinating the spaces and the workflow.”

“Introducing modern materials to extend the life of the structure whilst maintaining the overall aesthetic and integrity of the original is another challenge and the result is a credit to the whole team who’ve worked on it.”

Also known as the Victoria Clock Tower, the volcanic stone and limestone structure has decorative wrought iron work with coloured glass around part of the tower and four clock faces. 

The tower has two white marble plaques and one bronze plaque set on stone work above arches. The upper part of the structure was designed by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort and constructed in 1859 in England. 

It was installed at the corner of High Street and Manchester Street in 1897 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s accession and shifted to its current location in 1930.

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