Icon is ticking once more

Restored clock on Carlton Buildings, Hebden Bridge.
Restored clock on Carlton Buildings, Hebden Bridge.

After many years of time standing still, the iconic Carlton Buildings clock is ticking once more above Hebden Bridge.

The developers of the flats, Carlton Chambers, removed the original public clock machinery which was maintained by Hebden Royd Town Council back in 2003, but the story started 126 years ago and it has been documented by the Hebden Bridge Local History Society.

On June 13, 1890, the Hebden Bridge Industrial Co-operative Society opened the extended premises of the New Hall which included a public clock. The turret clock was made by Messrs Smith & Sons, Midland Clock Works, Derby. And now known as Smith of Derby it was they who carried out these recent repairs.

The Co-op went into liquidation in 1967, and the big question was “what will happen to the clock?” On June 4, 1968, the building was sold and the new owners were Mr William Povey, licensee of the White Lion Hotel and a Mr Edward McCormack, building contractor.

Clayton of Preston began looking after the three public clocks on behalf of Hebden Royd Town Council in the early 1970s. The clocks were the one at St James’, one at St Michael’s and the one at the Carlton. In the 1990s, Councillor Paul Monahan used to change the hour twice a year on the clock.

Now more than a hundred years old and worth several thousands of pounds, the clock needed a new beam for the striker mechanism but this work wasn’t completed and when the Carlton Building was to be developed Clayton’s were asked to come and stop the clock. In April 2003 the future of the clock was once more uncertain as the Carlton Hotel moved in to the ownership of Jaguar Estates (Great Central Development), and was being stripped by demolition contractors. Hebden Bridge Local History Society took action to try to save the clock.

After several drawn out communications with the building’s owners, Hebden Royd Town Council were able to gain permission to once again bring the clock back in to working order and to be responsible for its ongoing maintenance. They then worked with the owner and occupier of the flat which has the access to the clock. It has now been fully restored with a synchronous electric unit which automatically changes the hour and corrects the time if there is a power cut.