South East Wales

Pierhead clock given new St Mary Street, Cardiff site

The Pierhead Clock mechanism in St Mary Street, Cardiff
Image caption The new clock artwork in St Mary Street features the timepiece's mechanism from the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay

A historic clock based on Big Ben has been unveiled as part of Cardiff city centre's Castle Quarter renovation.

The Pierhead Clock mechanism is the main feature of a street artwork in a new glass tower in St Mary Street.

It began life in the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay in 1897 but was sold to a collector in America in the 1970s before returning in 2004 and restored.

It was unveiled on Tuesday following the completion of the pedestrianisation of the area.

The turret clock mechanism, which weighs approximately 1,000lb (454kg) and had to be wound manually once a week for the clock to keep time, is almost identical to the one which powers Big Ben in London.

The glass-sided new clock also features an artwork relating to the Marquis of Bute, who originally commissioned the Pierhead Building.

Three replica monkeys will strike hourly chimes.

The monkeys were designed by the marquis for one of the rooms of Cardiff Castle as a rebuttal of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

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