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Fears Norwich’s Gurney Clock could be ‘forgotten’ after three years in storage

PUBLISHED: 07:35 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:44 28 September 2018

Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock when it was put into storage in 2015. Pic: Submitted.

Simon Michlmayr with the lion from the Gurney Clock when it was put into storage in 2015. Pic: Submitted.

Archant

It’s regarded as the most accurate mechanical clock in the world, but three years after it was packed away into storage, there is still no sign of the Gurney Clock going back on public display.

The Gurney Clock pictured in Chapelfield Gardens. Picture: Archant LibraryThe Gurney Clock pictured in Chapelfield Gardens. Picture: Archant Library

The remarkable £250,000 timepiece, which once stood in Chapelfield Gardens and in Castle Mall, is likely to be on the move soon, but only into storage at another location.

And the man who will be tasked with moving it has expressed his disappointment that he will not be putting it back in a permanent home, where the public could enjoy the mechanical marvel.

The Gurney Clock was commissioned for the city in 1977, to celebrate 200 years of the well-known Gurney’s Bank, now Barclays, which had its home on Bank Plain until 2003.

Taking 12 years to make, the timepiece was initially installed in Chapelfield Gardens in 1988, but was moved to Castle Mall in 1998.

Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2004. 
Photo:  Adrian Judd
.Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2004. Photo: Adrian Judd .

In 2015 – and with that area of the mall undergoing a makeover – it was moved to storage at the former Mile Cross depot.

With council bosses looking to spend up to £2m clearing and decontaminating that depot, ahead of the potential for hundreds of homes on the site, the clock will need to be moved again – but only into storage elsewhere.

Simon Michlmayr, owner of S Michlmayr Clock and Watchmakers in Fletcher Way, has a long history caring for the clock.

In 2015, he helped to remove it from Castle Mall prepared it for storage at the Mile Cross depot.

Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2004.  Photo:  Adrian Judd .Simon Michlmeyer with the Gurney Clock in 2004. Photo: Adrian Judd .

When it is taken to its next storage location, it will be Mr Michlmayr who carefully moves it.

But he said: “I am personally immensely disappointed that I will be moving it into storage again and not putting it on public display.

“I don’t think Norwich quite understands just what the city has here. Putting aside the animations of the lions and the castle, the clock itself is regarded as probably the most accurate mechanical clock ever made.

“It really is a brilliant piece of equipment. I know there have been various options about where it might go, but none of them have ever come to anything.

“But I would love it to find a home. My biggest concern is that it is just shoved away and is eventually forgotten about.”

Norwich City Council said there was no update on the long-term future of the clock.

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