History of the Clock Tower

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In 1902, Surbiton Council decided to build a public clock tower to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. They held a design competition and, out of some 116 different entries, the design by John Johnson, a prominent 19th century architect was chosen. The tower was completed in 1908. In1983 the clock tower was given Grade II Listed Building status by English Heritage.

There is a beautiful weather vane at the top of the tower, bearing the initials E and A for Edward and Alexandra. Originally, near the base of the tower there were four small statues, one on each corner.

Location

The clock tower is located in the heart of Surbiton town centre in the Claremont Road Conservation Area, close to the beautiful Claremont Gardens and attractive period properties. The clock tower stands some 20 metres high and is an important landmark for Surbiton and the Royal Borough.

An Uncertain Future

The Coronation Clock Tower, as it became known, has faced an uncertain future on at least three occasions. Although construction started in 1902, lack of funds meant it was not completed till 1908. Its survival was at risk again in the 1960’s for the same reason. In both instances the clock tower was saved by donations from local people in addition to Council contributions..

Recent Developments

In summer 2007 when the clock face was being repaired, it was discovered that, although the main structure remained sound, a large number of the stone ornamentations were loose.

The Coronation Clock Tower again faced an uncertain future and had to be left shrouded in scaffolding for safety reasons. The ornamentations were carefully removed and stored while the Council awaited the results of a report commissioned to ascertain the extent of the damage.

A Friends of the Coronation Clock Tower group (link to ‘Friends’), comprising local organisations, residents and local councillors was formed. The Surbiton Neighbourhood Committee took out a prudential loan to pay for the urgent repairs, with a view to recouping the money. Work started in June 2007 and was completed in October 2007.

English Heritage, Heritage for London Trust and Waitrose Ltd are supporting the project and have provided funding towards the repair and restoration work.

Restoration 2007

The restoration process cost nearly £100,000. It was undertaken by consultants NPS and Cliveden Conservation.

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