Bill of £180,000 to fix Norwich City Hall clock

Norwich City Hall clock tower.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich City Hall clock tower. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A decision on whether to spend £180,000 to fix the landmark clock tower on Norwich City Hall will be made next week.

The tower, which dates from 1938 and forms part of the Grade II* listed building, needs to be repointed, while the finials – the decorative features on the tower – also need to be mended.

Norwich City Council had advertised a tender for the work and five companies put forward bids to do the work.

But the Labour-controlled cabinet will be asked next Wednesday to award a contract, worth just over £180,000, to Cambridgeshire-based JB Specialist Refurbishments Ltd.

If the contract is awarded at next week's meeting, then the goal is for work to start next month, with the repair work completed by Apri1. The tower will be surrounded by scaffolding during the work.


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The cost of the repair work had been accounted for in the council's capital programme for 2016/17.

It is not the first time the tower and its clock have cost the council money.

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In 2011, after the clock stopped, specialists had to strip the clock completely down and rebuild it after major problems were identified in the mechanism.

At a cost of £13,000, specialist Norwich-based company Michlmayr Clock & Watchmakers carried out the work to get the clock working again.

The clock has had its fair share of problems over the years, stopping completely around new year in 2010, when the mechanism froze.

In 2005 it stopped working, just months after thousands of pounds were spent fixing it.

City Hall facts

City Hall was built in 1938 and its 365ft balcony is the longest in the UK.

The clock tower stands 206ft high from ground level to the tip of the lighting conductor – almost one-fifth of The Shard in London.

One of the heraldic lions, once dubbed Nazi dogs by Alan Partridge, at the entrance of City Hall was exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition of 1936, where architects spotted it and commissioned its twin.

City Hall's first inhabitant was a stray black cat who had kittens in May 1938. The then lord mayor, Charles Watling, had them moved into his parlour, adopting one and finding homes for others.

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