Restora­tion com­plete of his­toric land­mark

Black Country Bugle - - GAIL MIDDLETON - By DAN SHAW

WORK to re­store Smeth­wick’s his­toric Coun­cil House is now com­plete. The Grade Ii-listed build­ing, built 1905-07, has had its clock tower re­fur­bished and ter­ra­cotta fa­cade re­stored.

The clock tower’s bro­ken tim­ber­work has been fixed, the met­al­work on the clock face re­painted and the tower it­self has been re­turned to its orig­i­nal colour scheme.

The project also in­cluded the re­place­ment of more than 100 dam­aged ter­ra­cotta blocks, the pitched roof has been re-slated and flat roofs re­placed. The build­ing’s or­nate roof domes have been re­dec­o­rated and rail­ings have been re­paired.

The orig­i­nal de­signer was the bor­ough ar­chi­tect Fred­eric J. Gill, who also de­signed sev­eral Smeth­wick school build­ings in the 1890s and early 1900s.

The build­ing’s clock is a rare “three­train flat-bed with grav­ity es­cape­ment” by John Smith and Sons of Derby and is re­garded as an im­por­tant piece of horo­log­i­cal his­tory. Clock en­thu­si­asts have vis­ited it to ad­mire its work­ings, as most of its kind were con­verted to elec­tric­ity many years ago. The tower also has three bells from 1906, cast by John Tay­lor and Co. of Lough­bor­ough.

Coun­cil­lor Steve Trow said: “It’s fan­tas­tic to see this build­ing re­stored to its for­mer glory and it is only right that we’ve done this work to pre­serve it for decades to come.”

In­te­rior fea­tures such as the dome above the stair­case (left) and the ceil­ing and roof win­dow in the coun­cil cham­ber have been re­stored

The re­stored clock tower and fa­cade

Sandwell Coun­cil Leader Steve Eling and Cabi­net Mem­ber for Core Coun­cil Ser­vices Cllr Steve Trow with coun­cil staff and con­trac­tors in­volved in the restora­tion of Smeth­wick Coun­cil House

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