Future of Norwich Gurney Clock unclear

Watchmaker Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2006.

Watchmaker Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2006. - Credit: Archant © 2004

Once a gift to the people of Norwich, now the iconic Gurney Clock in Castle Mall shopping centre is going into storage.

Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock now.

Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock now. - Credit: Archant

Once a gift to the people of Norwich, now the future of the iconic Gurney Clock is uncertain. With the Castle Mall undergoing a makeover, the shopping centre doesn't want to offer homage to the timepiece anymore, which was gifted to the city to celebrate 200 years of Gurney's Bank - now Barclays - around 40 years ago.

Clockmaker Simon Michlmayr and his team have removed the clock, which they installed at the top of Castle Mall in 1998 and have cared for ever since.

Now an empty glass case stands where the lion, castle and bronze balls once were.

The care of this rare timepiece has been paid for by Norwich City Council for years and now the clock has been taken to pieces and safely wrapped before being stored for an indefinite amount of time.

The empty case where the Gurney Clock stood at the Castle Mall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The empty case where the Gurney Clock stood at the Castle Mall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

The council are now exploring a 'few different avenues' into what to do with the rare timepiece, but no decisions have been made.

The clock was first installed in Chapelfield in 1988, but because of repetitive vandalism, it was moved to Castle Mall in 1998.

Most Read

Over the years, families have been attracted to the show, where when the clock strikes, the Lion turns and takes one of the balls in it's paws before setting it rolling down the spiral.

Simon Michlmayr, owner of S Michlmayr Clock and Watchmakers, said: 'It is the most accurate mechanical clock in the world, most people don't realize what we have in Norwich. Clocks don't like being packed away and the lions don't like being bubble wrapped up.'

The Gurney Clock in 1999 shortly after installation. Pictured with Paul Holmes from GEI Autowrappers

The Gurney Clock in 1999 shortly after installation. Pictured with Paul Holmes from GEI Autowrappers. - Credit: EDP © 1999

It took 12 years to build and clock maker Martin Burgess was chosen as the man for the job due to his familiarity with another clockmaker, John Harrison - the Gurney Clock is a replica of one of his designs.

Mr Michlmayr added: 'The clock is one of the most important mechanical clocks created in the last 100 years and it belongs to the city, it belongs to all of us - Norwich can't let go of this.'

A spokesperson from the council, said: 'It is one of our assets and is our responsibility. It is being kept in a safe place until it is decided what to do.'

- If you have a news story, email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk