The Independent London Newspaper

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Restored Smith clock ‘in danger of vandals’ attack’

Joe Trotter with the restored clock

Ex-mayor welcomes spruce-up but fears loss of plinth will put landmark at risk

FORMER Islington Mayor Joe Trotter is concerned that a recently-restored 100-year-old clock in Angel may not be vandal-proof.
Mr Trotter has praised Transport for London (TfL) for refurbishing the Smith clock at the top of City Road.
He said this week: “TfL has done a marvellous job with the clock and it even shows the right time. But I’m worried that a two-foot concrete plinth, which gave the clock height and kept it out of range of graffiti artists, has not been replaced.”
The clock at the junction with Goswell Road is still fenced off while workmen complete the restoration of the pavement area. It had stopped this week.
Mark Aston, history manager at Islington Local History Centre in Finsbury, said that a clock occupied a site opposite the former Angel Tavern, now the Co-operative Bank, up to 1872. Then an agreement was made between Islington and Clerkenwell Vestries (former councils) and John Smith and Sons, clock and watchmakers, for it to be moved to its present site, where the clock went up in 1906.
Smith, established in 1780, had its works – The Clerkenwell Steam Clock Works – at St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, an area well known as a centre of clock and watchmaking.
Mr Aston said: “The clock was originally wound daily by hand, but some time later an electrical winding mechanism was installed, with Smith footing the bill.”
A TfL spokesman said the clock had been refurbished and given a new granite plinth as part of improvements to the Goswell Triangle. “Gran­ite paving matching the clock plinth will be laid around the clock during the next couple of weeks,” he added.
“We are aware the clock has stopped working and are currently in the process of having this repaired.”
PETER GRUNER

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