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Time on your hands this summer? Here’s your chance to see the Town Hall clock up close

Manchester's Central Library this summer will be home to a familiar sight.

The Majestic Clock Hands Take Center Stage

Step into Manchester’s Central Library this summer and you might spot something familiar.

Nestled within the grand Shakespeare Hall, visitors will be able to see the magnificent pair of hands from the iconic town hall clock tower.

As part of the eagerly anticipated Our Town Hall project, these remarkable artefacts will be on public display from May 26 until the end of August.

The Our Town Hall project strives to breathe new life into cherished landmarks, ensuring that the treasures of yesteryear remain within reach for all to admire.

By granting public access to these extraordinary artefacts, the project encapsulates the essence of community engagement and the celebration of shared heritage.

A Glimpse into the City’s Timeless Legacy

Enveloped in an aura of majesty, these copper marvels serve as the rhythmic heartbeat of Manchester’s central skyline.

With a towering height of 87 meters, the clock tower dominates the urban panorama, casting an indelible mark on the city’s memory.

Preserving the Past, Restoring the Present

The Our Town Hall project has undertaken the meticulous task of restoring the four dials that grace the town hall clock.

Over the years, the opal glass adorning the timepieces has suffered considerable damage, necessitating a much-awaited replacement. Amidst this meticulous restoration, the clock itself has been delicately disassembled and entrusted to the skilled hands of The Cumbria Clock Company, renowned public clock specialists with a quarter-century of expertise.

This cherished timekeeping relic will undergo a comprehensive maintenance check and restoration, ensuring its accuracy and longevity for generations to come.

As the project nears completion, the rejuvenated clock will be reinstated within the refurbished tower, poised to continue its timeless duties.

A Singular Legacy

Crafted by the esteemed Victorian clockmakers Gillett and Bland of Croydon, this remarkable timepiece sprang to life on New Year’s Day in 1879.

One of a rare breed, only four other clocks of its calibre grace the world’s landmarks: at Hampton Court, London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Birmingham Law Library, and Toronto City Hall.

A Treasured Encounter

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, expressed the significance of the Our Town Hall project, stating, “At every stage, the Our Town Hall project is restoring historical gems and safeguarding them for the future. A key part of the project is to improve access to the Town Hall and its treasures, so while the clock hands will obviously return to their rightful place after the clock is restored – we wanted to put them on display while we could.”

Keith Scobie-Youngs, Director at The Cumbria Clock Company, echoed this sentiment, recognising the unique opportunity presented by the clock hands’ temporary removal.

He said: “Once we’d removed the clock hands from the four dials, it seemed like a wasted opportunity to just store them away. Putting two of them on display like this is a great idea; people have a great empathy with clocks – they’re given as gifts at notable times and often passed down through generations. So, the chance to stand face-to-face with copper hands from the iconic clock tower is something we were only too happy to support.”

A Chapter in Manchester’s Timeless Tale

This summer, seize the chance to stand in awe of these colossal timekeepers, each tick and tock whispering the tales of Manchester’s vibrant past.

Encounter the magnificent clock hands, touch the copper that has weathered the years, and immerse yourself in the timeless legacy of a city that stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the enduring power of the passage of time.

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