Time for historic Birmingham landmark to be restored to former glory

The 117-year-old Chamberlain Clock in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter will be removed this month for extensive repairs and restoration.

On August 22, the process will begin to dismantle and remove the clockfrom its current home on the roundabout junction of Warstone Lane and Vyse Street for clock-makers Smith of Derby to begin the restoration project.

It is expected the Clock will be reinstated in early 2021, complete with a new information panel.

The project was a winning pledge in the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District’s (JQBID) 2017 renewal proposal.

The project, led by the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT), has been able to happen through funds raised by the JQBID and the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage project (JQTH), a National Lottery Heritage Fund scheme.

In its current form, the clock stands with corroded paintwork and a broken timepiece.

The cast-iron feature, which was last restored 30 years ago, will now undergo extensive operations to restore its internal workings, its clock face and tower.

Chamberlain is hailed for being largely responsible for the fast-paced modernisation of the city while Mayor of Birmingham between 1873 – 76.

First unveiled in 1903, the clock commemorates Chamberlain’s visit to South Africa. His role as Colonial Secretary and his involvement in the British Empire is not as widely discussed, so as part of the project, the JQTH project will be recruiting a researcher with support from the Beatfreeks-led project ‘Don’t Settle’.

Thomas Wildish, chair of the JQDT says: “The Chamberlain Clock has stood tall as a Birmingham landmark since 1903. The JQBID made a pledge to levy payers in 2017 to refurbish the Clock and it’s crucial that promise is delivered.

“The project has been made possible through the generous contribution of our business community through JQBID, as well as the funding provided by the JQTH, through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As part of the refurbishment, it’s crucial we acknowledge the history of the Clock. Joseph Chamberlain is well known for his positive impact on the city, yet more needs to be explored about his role in Government and the British Empire. It’s for this reason we’ll be installing a new information panel, to share his history further with current and future generations.”

For the safe removal of the clock, the traffic roundabout will be closed on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August, meaning that traffic diversions will be in place and bus stops along the route will be suspended.

Affected routes include all roads leading up the clock, including Frederick Street, Vyse Street and Warstone Lane.