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Return of the golden key

Brett Dubois, and the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Pete West

Clock Tower gifted to the town 1888

‘The Clock Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee of 1887. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Arthur Otway  on 20 January 1888, the seventieth birthday of James Willing, who gifted the clock tower to the town; it cost £2000. The Mayor of Brighton, Alderman Edward Martin, in his acceptance speech on behalf of the town said, ‘May the contemplation of it (the Clock Tower) fill our hearts with gratitude for the unnumbered mercies we have enjoyed in this benificent reign, and make us exclaim in loyalty and love ‘God Bless The Queen’. James Willing then presented the Mayor with a gold-plated key to the tower.’

The Clock Tower, undated

History comes full circle

The above text is an extract from a page I published in 2013. You will see a mention of ‘a gold-plated key to the tower.’ I am pleased to report that recently Alderman Edward Martin’s great-great grandson Brett Dubois, met with the present Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Pete West to pass on that famous key. It now has pride of place in a display cabinet in the Mayor’s parlour and history has come full circle.

Comments about this page

  • A very interesting record of an aspect of the Clock Tower’s history.

    By Douglas d'Enno (20/09/2016)
  • James Willing was my great great Uncle. My Brother Ronald Willing and myself Valerie Willing are very proud of the clock tower and the part our family have played in its history. I live locally and get all my friends to visit it. It could do with a clean. Valerie Hiley. (Willing).

    27th May 2021

    By Val Hiley (Willing) (27/05/2021)
  • I walked past the Clock Tower yesterday midday. There was a line of street drinkers sitting on the plinth surrounded by tins and fast food containers. On the seating nearby a line of abandoned bottles…and right in the centre of our city where all the visitors from the station pass on their way to the Lanes or seafront.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (28/05/2021)

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