Hidden for years in Gorleston, now library’s clock may chime once more

Councillor Marlene Fairhead, Friends chairman Shelia Russell and library manager Christine Blowers v

Councillor Marlene Fairhead, Friends chairman Shelia Russell and library manager Christine Blowers viewing the Gorleston Library clock - Credit: Tony Mallion

Former Gorleston Library clock might soon make an appearance.

The Gorleston Library clock

The Gorleston Library clock - Credit: Tony Mallion

Talks are under way to turn back time at Gorleston Library and bring back its former clock.

Over 40 years ago, the former clock on the corner of the old Carnegie Library was promised to be put back in its well deserved place.

In the early 1970s the decision was made to build a new library and it was felt the design needed a modern designed timepiece rather than keeping the old one.

It was agreed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council that the original clock would be stored with the hope of eventually finding it a new home. But instead it has languished in a council depot,


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However, with the help of the Friends of Gorleston Library, a campaign has been started to bring the little piece of history back into public view.

Chairman of the Friends Sheila Russell has been heading up the talks. She said: 'Ideally the clock could be displayed on the corner of the library once more. It might even work again with a modern mechanism.

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'But the most important thing would be to get it back to Gorleston if we can and put it on display with some sort of tribute to John Cockrill and other members of his family who did so much to shape the town.

'It is very early days but at least there is a lot of sympathy for the idea and it is clearly worth exploring to see what might be possible.'

The library and the adjoining tram shed were designed by John W Cockrill who was the borough engineer responsible for many of the distinctive buildings in the area, including Gorleston Pavilion, Stradbroke School and the old cemetery gates.

He was once known for his mastery of the relatively new medium of concrete and glazed terracotta tiles that the library demonstrates.

Norfolk County Council is now responsible for the library and is sympathetic to exploring the idea of bringing the old clock back.

Tony Mallion, a lifelong library user and former chief reporter of the Yarmouth Mercury is also involved in the project.

He said: 'Forty years ago I reported on the plans to build the new library and that pledge to preserve the clock. It was quite a thrill to see it again after so long, even if it is lying on its side. The bell still rings too.'

A meeting will be held next month with the council to discuss the way forward.

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