IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Has time run out for clock that’s a Victorian treasure?

Calls for late-Victorian ‘landmark’ to be returned to Holloway Road

28 July, 2017

Andrew Gardner in front of the Holloway Road building that has lost its ‘landmark’ clock

HISTORIANS have called for the safe return of a “landmark” Victorian clock removed from the side of a building in Holloway Road.

Members of Islington Archaeology and History Society previously campaigned for the owners of 296 Holloway Road to restore the clock, which they said dated from times when the road was North London’s equivalent of the West End.

Andrew Gardner, who chairs the society, hopes that the clock is being restored and will be returned.

“It’s a landmark piece of architecture. It’s a balancing feature in the middle of the building and a lovely thing to keep,” he said. “We are losing oral histories of the area as people get older and the clock can tell stories.”

The late-Victorian clock which adorned the top of the building had two faces and was decorated with black roman numerals.

The Holloway Road clock

It had fallen into disrepair, but according to residents interviewed by the Tribune two years ago, it still worked if it was wound up.

A ham and beef dealer, Frank William Watkins, used the building in 1880 according to Post Office Directory records but it was turned into a branch of Sainsbury’s at the end of the 19th century.

Building inspectors from the Town Hall last checked the clock in February last year but ruled it didn’t need to be removed after deeming it structurally safe.

The owner of London Cookery School, William Wong, who leases the shop space at the bottom of the four-storey building, said it was a “shame” to see the clock go.

“About a month ago, we came in and there was scaffolding outside,” he said. “A week later the scaffolding company came back to remove it. And that’s when we saw the clock had just been removed and boarded over instead.”

A spokesman for the owners of the property freehold, Edgware-based ground-rent company Allan Mattey Group, said they would look into what happened to the clock.

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