New look for iconic clock tower at Quarry Bank Mill
RESTORERS have completed work to repair one of the most recognisable features at Quarry Bank Mill.
It has taken more than five months to repair the mill’s clock tower in painstaking detail – including using gold leaf for the numerals and clock hands.
Eleanor Underhill, general manager, said the clock was an important part of mill life.
She said: “One of the bells in the clock tower would have been rung to call the apprentices into work so it really is important to the fabric and history of the building.”
Quarry Bank’s estate buildings team began assessing the state of the timbers supporting the tower dome, the structure of the bell, and the clockface in October.
They then started repairs with the help of contractors. During the work they discovered one of the bells was a John Taylor bell, dating back to 1895.
It was commissioned for a church in Newport, South Wales, but had to be returned because it was too small and was eventually sold to the Greg family which owned Quarry Bank Mill. The bell was installed in 1900 in memory of Arthur Greg, who died of pneumonia and pleurisy in 1899. Visitors to Quarry Bank, which is owned and run by the National Trust, will have noticed the tower has always been wonky – a quirk which has not been put right during the restoration.
Experts stabilised the structure so that stonework could be carried out around the clock. The face was replaced, as the existing one would have been damaged if the paint had been stripped.
Ally Tsilika, Quarry Bank’s archives and collections officer, said the old face went into storage for preservation along with the finial, which had rotted.
She said: “It is never a case of out with the old and in with the new.
“It is important for us to preserve our heritage and this is a great example of the work the National Trust does.”
Samuel Greg established the cotton mill on the banks of the River Bollin in 1784, making use of the readily available water supply to power the mill.
Jerry Veale, building supervisor for Quarry Bank, with the clock face