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Report - South Shields Town Hall Clock Tower - March 2013

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by myromeo, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. myromeo

    myromeo 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Hi, First report here so I hope you like it!

    I've fancied getting up the clock tower of South Shields town hall for quite a whilst but never been able to get access. Anyhow managed to persuade one of the town hall workers to let me have a look around so here we are!

    A little history...

    The town Hall took 5 years to build and was completed in 1910. The architect was called EE Fetch. The town hall was built to replace the old town hall which still stands in the market place. The building was opened by George Thomas Grey who was the mayor of South Shields at the time. The clock tower stands at 146 feet high... this was my target today.


    So first up, gaining access to the tower is not via internal stairs, lifts or anything logical...


    Through the window and up a few ladders and we found ourselves on the roof of the main building, some nice views across town from here but this thread isn't about the views! Were getting closer to our target


    Entering the tower building we are greeted by what I decided to call the flag room...


    And up some more stairs. Worth mentioning these wooden steps are the original 1910 steps!


    Now this I didn't expect to find. The clock faces are truly clockwork! They had an auto winder system fitted in 1956 but the clockwork stuff is all original. There is three main parts which control the chimes, from left to right there is the 15 minute, 30 minute and hourly chime gearing. We waited around long enough to see this work, unfortunately I didn't shoot any video but it was fascinating to see.


    Notice the minute indicators are anti clockwise? The gearing is such that they rotate this way! (sorry its a little out of focus)


    And some more ladders to take us to the clock faces... There all powered by the one common shaft that enters the box in the middle and splits to four shafts that you can see here. Great bit of engineering. The wire ropes in this shot are for the bells.



    Finally one last set of ladders and we make to the very top and the bells... Again, original parts here too, notice the date on the bell is 1908. Two years before the tower was completed!


    And what would a tower climb be without a view... looking out from the bells towards the mouth of the river tyne


    Thanks for looking and I welcome any comments :)
    #1 myromeo, Mar 17, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013

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