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Report - Derby Guildhall clock tower- Live infiltration - Feb 2009

Shades

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
The Derby Guildhall is now a small theatre with a tall clock tower on the Market Square. I took some exterior photos earlier on not expecting to be able to get a quick chance to explore.
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(I actually went to look at the Hippodrome but it was surprisingly busy in the area, it must have been Giro day). The photos inside are a bit hurried as I was avoiding detection...

The theatre bit has a mint ceiling of decorative plasterwork with a central laylight, not actually letting any light in, unsurprising for a theatre.
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An unassuming doorway has an unusual sign above
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The door leads through to another door, beyond which is the building boiler. This is the first floor base of the tower (it is open at street level). This is the view upwards.
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The boiler flue split into a T on the next landing, to vent outside. A further landing onwards, the stairs continue upwards and then arrive at a vertical ladder.
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The reason for the ladder becomes apparent- this is the belfry level and there isn't room for a stair.
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Half way up the ladder now. Above there is a landing and more stairs with a heavy wooden hatch.
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Straining to open the hatch, I find myself at clock face level. The cogs and rods drive the hands, whilst large discharge floods backlight the clock faces.
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Looking up, another vertical ladder leads up to the crows nest. I didn't climb up there as I felt it might be time to move on.
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So where was the clock mechanism? I assume it had been removed and replaced by a synchronous motor as the drive shaft headed downwards but I hadn't passed any mech.
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Heading down again, I struggled to work out the route of the shaft. Suddenly someone shouted from below and I froze, expecting to have been rumbled... but it was just someone out in the market square, the sounds (and the bitter cold) wafting up through the slats.
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On the way back down, I opened a door into the roof void above the theatre. That hard hat suggests another possible explore, but not this time.
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Back at the bottom of the stairs, there seemed to be a mechanism to be able to lock off a chain and mute the bells. That makes sense during a performance.
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Back at theatre level, this is the stage set, with hundreds of coat hangers aloft.
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A quick zoom in to one of those amazing ceiling bays an then I was off.
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Here is a view up the side of the tower. The boiler vent is in the right most of the three small squares above the niche.
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Here is the tower in near silhouette from across Market Square. (A fair is being built up).
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The weathercock. Had I remembered this was on the top I might have made the effort to go up to the crows nest and try to photograph it through those round holes on the roof (or at least work out how it was fixed on the underside.
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