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Historic Coney Street clock makes its return
Anthony Hammersley, churchwarden at St Martin-le-Grand Church, in Coney Street, York, right, and Keith Scobie-Youngs, of the Cumbria Clock Company, install the minute hand on the newly-restored clock
A CROWD of “clock-watchers” gathered as a historic timepiece was returned to its rightful place in the centre of York.
The famous clock outside St Martin-le-Grand Church, in Coney Street, was taken down last November to allow restoration work costing more than £54,000 to be carried out.
The ten-month renovation project by the Cumbria Clock Company is the biggest the clock, which features a Little Admiral figure, has undergone since it was rebuilt and restored to the church in 1966. It will now strike the hours as well as chiming every 15 minutes.
The Archdeacon of York, the Ven Richard Seed, will today rededicate the clock after praising local charities and trustees for their support.
The operation to put it back in place started at 6am yesterday, with Gate Helmsley-based York Crane Hire in charge.
Chuck Richardson, the firm’s owner, said: “We took the clock down last year and were asked to lift it back on to the church. It’s extremely delicate and we had a team of five working on the job, which took about four hours. Even though it was early, there was a crowd of 20 to 25 people watching it happen and taking pictures and videos, so we had quite a few spectators.”
A clock has stood over Coney Street since 1668. The current design dates back to 1856, while the figure of the naval officer on top of the timepiece has been there since 1779. It will now be wound weekly by members of the York Clock Group.
The tune for the new quarter-hour chimes was written by York composer Andrew Carter.
“It’s wonderful to have the clock back as it’s one of York’s most famous sights,” said the Rev Jane Nattrass, vicar of St Martin-le-Grand.
“The clock now features sound and movement, and I’m sure lots of people will pause to see the Little Admiral revolve.”
Andrew Hingston, from the church, oversaw the restoration work. He said: “We only realised the scale of it once the clock was in the workshop.
“The 19th century bracket has been repaired, repainted and gilded and the face of Father Time has been replaced. The Little Admiral figure has been repainted in the correct 18th century colours, and for the first time in nearly two centuries, he revolves as he originally did.”
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