North West Wales

Timely abseil in aid of Conwy church clock restoration

Conwy clock restoration (pic: Christopher Dearden)
Image caption Work on the four faces of the clock, on each side of the church tower, will take around two weeks

Restorers abseiled off a church tower, instead of using the traditional scaffolding to access a town's clock as part of a £10,000 restoration.

The Victorian clock belongs to Conwy Town Council Council, but is situated on the tower of St Mary's Church in the centre of the town.

The town clerk said the clock was seen from all over the town and had become "pretty shabby looking" over the years.

The £10,000 project will see the dials repainted, and the gold leaf replaced.

"The company is using ropes to access the clock instead of scaffolding so there is less disruption for the church," said the town clerk Helen Armitage.

"It was converted to electronic operation and upgraded in 1979, and it does keep time.

"I use it when I'm out and about in the town, but it had become shabby looking," she added.

Image caption Ropes are the most 'cost effective' way of accessing the clock faces

The £10,000 cost had been "saved for" by the council over the years so there is as little cost to the town's people as possible, she added.

The church's visitors guide states the clock was the gift of Lord Penrhyn in the 19th Century & has slate faces.

The movement was converted to an electric operation in 1997, the dials have not been restored for at least 35 years, and the four dials are 5ft (1.52m) in diameter.

"It is an exciting project and people in the town seem pleased with how it is looking," she said.

"I hadn't realised the work had started but a businessman told me yesterday that it was looking good, so I went out to have a look and it does look much better," she added.

Clock makers and restorers Smith of Derby, which has looked after the time piece since 1970, said the clock was probably installed sometime in the mid 1800s.

Keith Cotton from the company said the use of ropes for access was the "cost effective way" to approach the clock.

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