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Norwich’s Gurney Clock faces unclear future after being removed from Castle Mall

PUBLISHED: 06:35 23 November 2015

Watchmaker Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2006.

Watchmaker Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2006.

Archant © 2006

It took 12 years to make and has been a fixture of the city for many more.

Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock now.Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock now.

But Norwich’s Gurney Clock now faces an uncertain future – and could even be lost from the city for good.

The timepiece, which was gifted to the people of Norwich, has long been a feature of Castle Mall and, before that, Chapelfield Gardens.

But with that area of the Mall undergoing a radical makeover, it has been removed to storage.

There are no plans to return it to the site and no indications, currently, when or where a new home for it can be found. In fact the only suggestion that seems to have been put forward would see the clock leaving the city altogether and put in a clock museum in Greenwich, south-east London.

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

Vicky Manthorpe, secretary of the Norwich Society, said she had brought the issue to the city council’s attention. “There’s a clock museum and somebody connected with it spotted it when he was in Norwich,” she explained.

“It would be better to have the clock where it’s appreciated.

“Unless the city can provide 
somewhere where it would be on view, it would be better where people would go. It would be terrific if it went to Greenwich. It was a tourist attraction at one point but you have to make something of it.”

The clock was originally made, around 40 years ago, as a gift to the city to mark the 200th anniversary of Gurney’s Bank – which later merged with Barclays.

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.

Simon Michlmayr, owner of S Michlmayr Clock and Watchmakers, initially installed the clock in the Mall and his team have now helped to remove it.

He said it was important the city found a new home for it.

“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,” he added.

“It is the most accurate mechanical clock in the world; most people don’t realise what we have in Norwich. Clocks don’t like being packed away and the lions don’t like being bubble wrapped up.”

City Hall has responsibility for the clock. The council is currently exploring a “few different avenues” as to what to do with the timepiece, but no decisions have been made.

A spokesman said: “It is being kept in a safe place until it is decided what to do.”

•What should happen to the Gurney Clock? Leave your comments below.

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