It took the crane several pulls before the old Penarth Town Clock reluctantly succumbed to extraction this morning at 08:55 am.

Penarth’s iconic Town Clock – which for 31 years has valiantly attempted (with limited success) to tell local residents the right time – has today been removed and replaced with a brand new “like-for-like” version.

A team from the clock-makers Smiths of Derby began work at Penarth roundabout at first light this morning to extract the old clock – first by removing the head – then the column –  and finally the base which contains the electrical mechanisms.

It took some jiggling , some lifting power and a squirt of WD40 to overcome the old clock’s resistance and persuade it to part company with the supporting column .

A mobile crane was brought in from Lincolnshire to lift the old clock out of its housing and set the identical new one in its place.

The old clock was originally presented to the town by the Penarth Rotary Club to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club’s foundation.

1987 : Cllr Clive Williams as Mayor of Penarth at the installation of the original Penarth Town Clock

The then Mayor of Penarth, former Councillor Clive Williams, and ther chairman of Penarth Rotary Club officiated at the installation of the original clock in 1987.

Regrettably, in the intervening years the Rotary Club itself has been wound up. It closed in 2016. (Although the Rotary Club has gone from Penarth the new clock also bears the emblem of the Rotary Club on its four faces).

The original clock stood on the Windsor Road Roundabout through several windy, wet  and freezing winters and – as time went on – became increasingly unreliable.

In 2010 and in several other winters snow obliterated at least one of Penarth Town Clock’s four faces

Sometimes snow stopped the town clock altogether and frequently local residents found that on many occasions the four faces failed to show the same time.

Unlike a legendary stopped clock- which is said to be “right twice a day” at least one face of  Penarth’s Town Clock seemed to be always in disagreement with the other three

Over the years – despite meticulous maintenance which involved removing its headgear and taking it back to the factory for adjustment – it became more and more eccentric .

Penarth’s old Town Clock often had to be decapitated to get it working again . This surgery was performed on it in 2009

The clock received major surgery in 2009 but the makers found that parts for the ageing mechanism were becoming became increasingly hard to get.

According to the Penarth Town Council’s accounts , in the year ending March 31st 2017 the Labour-run council spent over ten thousand pounds (£10,912.00p to be exact ) on maintenance of the Town Clock…but to no avail.

Eventually one face stopped telling the time altogether and as a temporary stop-gap – and in order to  avoid confusing local residents –  the faulty face, even though it was right twice a day, was blanked-off with a plaque which read “Welcome to/ Croeso i Penarth

Like most Penarth residents, the old Town Clock is now to end its days in Penarth Cemetery

Welsh language activists complained the blanked-off face was grammatically incorrect,  and – in any case – the Welsh message should have had priority and come before the English.

It was unfortunate for the council that the blanked-off face also happened to be the one which faced the shopping centre on Windsor Road- and was therefore the one which was usually most consulted by passers-by .

The “Oculus development at No 2 Stanwell Road is the source of the funding for the new clock

The cash for the new clock will not come from the pockets of council-tax payers but from a Section 106 contribution from the developers of “Oculus”  – the new apartment development opposite the entrance to Penarth Library. The total cost is £13,747.44p

The new clock is almost identical to the old one – but not quite

The “like-for-like” replacement clock – a brand new one made by Smiths of Derby – with a new column and new metal cabinet at the base, was  operation by lunchtime today.

The all-new Penarth Town Clock was in place before lunchtime today

Convex bevelled glass on the new clock makes the faces appear slightly larger than on the old clock. The Rotary International emblem – a feature of the previous clock – is also on the new one

The new clock is almost the same as the old one –  but not quite .

Eagle-eyed local residents pointed out that the new clock has convex bevelled glass on all four faces making  the new clock’s dials slightly easier to read than those of its predecessor. The old one will now spend the rest of its days in Penarth cemetery.

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  1. Clive says:

    Crane all the way the Lincoln?

  2. Christopher -David says:

    “A mobile crane was brought in from Lincolnshire” Nothing local- and cheaper?

    • Harry Parfitt says:

      Your response to Peter Church is drivel, even by your standards. I think what you’re trying to say is “It’s a fair cop, guv”.

      • Christopher -David says:

        Odd- the Parfitt’s I’ve known in Penarth were bright and well read. Have you been genetically modified 🙂

  3. Scootergirl says:

    The new clock might be ‘free’ , but I wonder who is funding the cost of hiring a crane all the way from Lincolnshire, when there are plenty of reputable in the local area!!

    • Peter Church says:

      You silly, silly people.
      Lincoln is only 20kms from Derby where the new clock has come from!
      Perhaps they used their heads and brought the new clock with them on the back of the lorry. See photo, oh yes there it is!

      Glad some of the poster here don’t do logistics!!

      • Raciste Mark (aka Jean Valjean) says:

        Jeez, ces Gallois Clive, Christophe Davide (especiallement) et ScooterGirl sont stupides, n’est-ce pas Pierre Eglise!

      • Harry Parfitt says:

        56 miles actually. What were you saying about logistics?

      • Christopher -David says:

        Ha logistics- or what you really mean driving a lorry and delivering something is not quite up your street is it. Worked out the carbon footprint as well did we 🙂 Nearly as dumb as the racists Google French. And you’ve been doing so well…..sigh.

      • Frank Evans says:

        Some of the silly people doth protest Mr Church!

  4. Andrew Worsley says:

    I cannot wait for the ‘Annual Christmas Lights’ comedy event . On ..now off .. on again oh sorry off and so it goes and I wonder what cock up they will make of the ‘Switch On Evening’ the stage is too low for people to see from 6 feet away , or the hired act runs late so parents start to drift home as no one knows the revised switch on time . Yes its all the fun of the fair and parents will be out in force again playing Dodge the Pushchairs or as some do circle the push chairs to claim our bit of space. Yes organised chaos at its best , Its ‘What Penarth Does Best ‘ . Want a viewing platform ? happy to oblige, teetering on a cliff top good enough??? Want reduced lighting on a stretch of pavement that is a 30 foot or so stretch, paving slabs broken or uneven , puddles you cannot see as the lights are so dull. Yes if its going to liable or slipshod or just plain badly thought through or planned Penarth is your destination , oh and even though we cannot find room for a car park , we can talk about a Headland Walkway …. thatll sort things out .!!!!!!.

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