Essential repairs to the pier clock

Detail of damage to the clock
Photo by Brendan Eldridge
Detail of damage to the clock
Photo by Brendan Eldridge

The original aquarium clock?

Rumour has it that the pier clock tower was originally located at the entrance to the aquarium. It is suggested that during the demolition in 1929 to make way for a new aquarium, the clock tower was sold to the Palace Pier. The clock tower which is currently located at the entrance to the pier does not resemble the original clock tower, so we can only presume that it was in a poor state of disrepair, and the only salvageable parts were the clock faces and the clocks mechanism.

Remodelled tower

The remodelled clock tower is constructed from a steel work frame, timber, cladded in zinc and painted black with various brass coloured details such as the rosettes. We are unsure when the clock tower received its last makeover but due to the recent high winds and constant rain, the tower is looking very tired.

Winter damage

During the last winter we noticed that the time keeping of the clock was slowing down and on further investigation it was found that the clock tower was no longer waterproof. Certain key members supporting the clocks mechanism were decaying, forcing the various drive shafts to bind, hence the poor time keeping.

Renovation team

The renovations to the clock tower are being carried out by a maintenance team from Hastings. The clock servicing will be carried out by one of our own Pier maintenance engineers who has previous experience working on timekeeping equipment and has maintained the Pier’s clock during the last eight years.

Comments about this page

  • The original clock on the aquarium was fitted in 1874 and the face is clearly different from the one which was there when the the aquarium was demolished. The original clock face bore a maker’s name, which had disappeared by the 1920’s. The later clock was purportedly purchased by Oliver Dalton in 1929 and refitted to the pier entrance, albeit in a different tower. This clock was evidently still there just before the war, but the movement and four inner faces were subsequently removed to avoid damage, leaving the remainder of the face containing the numbers in situ. This proved to be a prudent move, as the tower was damaged in 1941 by a nearby explosion. The pier re-opened on 1st June 1946 and a remodelled clock tower replaced the old one. The nature of the pre-war face is a completely different style to the one you show, having a ring separating the numbers from the removable plain inner central section. It may still have the original movement, but both the face and hands have been changed over the years.

    By Andy Grant (05/04/2010)

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