Bexleyheath Clock Tower being cleaned ahead of Queen's sculpture unveiling (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Bexleyheath Clock Tower being cleaned ahead of Queen's sculpture unveiling
THE Clock Tower in Bexleyheath Broadway is having a wash and brush-up ahead of the unveiling of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Sculpture next month.
For the next five weeks, the tower will be surrounded with scaffolding while a maintenance team use specialist equipment to carefully clean the brickwork.
Both the north and south niches of the tower are currently empty and to celebrate the tower’s 100th anniversary and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last year, a campaign was launched to bring a sculpture of the Queen to Bexleyheath.
Campaign manager Ian Payne says it would be fitting to have the Queen in place given the history of the Clock Tower.
He said: “It’s tough times in the country these days to have something positive like this.
“The unveiling is going to be a great day.”
The Bexleyheath town centre manager added: “People are very pleased this is what we are doing because when the Clock Tower was originally unveiled in 1912 the mayor of the day said it would be great to have busts of other royal family members to go with the one of King George.”
The £20,000 sculpture is to be displayed in the south facing niche of the tower and will be unveiled following a civic parade through Bexleyheath on June 9.
Beginning at 9.45am at the civic offices, the parade will eventually reach the Clock Tower at 1pm.
To donate towards the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Sculpture, contact Bexleyheath town centre manager Ian Payne on 020 8304 0775 or email email@example.com.
The history of the Clock Tower
AFTER nearly a year of planning the foundation stone for the Clock Tower, in Market Place, was laid on January 8 1911.
It was officially unveiled on July 17 1912 to commemorate the Coronation of King George V the previous year.
Businesses and shops decorated their premises with bunting and ‘God Save the King’ banners were hung outside buildings.
The ceremony began at 12.30pm when members of the council, religious bodies and the Fire Brigade met at the council offices and marched to the Clock Tower.
They were met by Boy Scouts, Boy’s Brigade, school children and the wives of the councillors and other guests.
The Clock Tower was designed by architect Walter Epps, costing around £590, and was intended to stand "as a memorial to the enterprise and loyalty of the inhabitants of Bexleyheath" and it was thought the landmark "would be the beginnings of better things to come in Bexleyheath".
At the opening ceremony a bust of King George V was unveiled in the west alcove.
Mr Epps ended his speech with: "I hope to see all the niches filled with busts of members of the Royal Family".
During the 1930s the bust of King George disintegrated and then completely fell apart during cleaning after World War Two.
It was recast by Bexleyheath resident, John Ravera, and a President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, and re-installed in its niche.
On January 18 1997 a bust of William Morris, who lived at Red House, was unveiled in the east alcove to commemorate the centenary of his death in 1896.
A bell was installed on June 17 1913 but in August 1914 the Defence of the Realm Act banned the ringing of bells for fear they might be used by German spies to convey secret messages. It did not ring again until the year 2000.
A jar was also placed under the foundation stone to explain to any future explorer how Bexleyheath celebrated the coronation of King George V.