View Full Version : Lindley Clock Tower, Huddersfield sept 08 ARCHIVED

19-09-2008, 04:04 PM
This was an open day as part of the heritage weekend 14th - 15th September 08.

Lindley Clock Tower was commissioned in 1901 by Mr James Nield Sykes, Mr Sykes was a well known local businessman. His support of local charities and gifts to his native village of Lindley were well known. The Clock Tower was probably his most well known gift. The structure is unique and familiar landmark, which can be seen from many parts of Huddersfield.

The tower is situated in a commanding position at the junction of five roads, Lidget Street, Acre Street, Plover Road, Daisy Lea Lane and Occupation Road.

The tower is built of a finely textured local stone. The concave pagoda roof is covered with copper which with weathering etc; is now green. The mullions, gargoyles and sculptures are all carved from the same fine textured local stone. The clock faces are 6 feet in diameter with roman numerals, and plain hands. Originally the clock was fitted with a Cambridge and Westminster chimes which tolled every quarter and full hour. In 1969 the mechanism was found to be badly worn and was replaced by the clock mechanism from the old Market Hall Tower, which was situated in King Street, Huddersfield, and had been demolished the same year. The replacement mechanism did not have any chimes or strike the hour. This did not suit the good people of Lindley. They organised an appeal and the then local authority installed new chimes in 1971.

The tower was designed by Mr Edgar Wood A.R.I.B.A. Mr T. Stirling Lee, who worked regularly for Edgar Wood, was responsible for all the sculptures and copper work. Edgar's uncle, John Sykes, was a founder of the firm that later became Joseph Sykes Brothers, Acre Mills at Lindley.

The dimensions of the tower make one realise the strength of the building. The tower is 83 feet high. The walls are 2 feet thick. It is squarely built and the width of the sides including the buttresses at the corners is 11 feet.

The tower was completed in December 1902, and the estimated cost being between 3,000 and 4,000. The clock was officially started on Christmas Eve, 1902 by Miss Mary Alice Sykes, the draughter of James Nield Sykes.

The significance of the many sculptures which adorn the tower are of interest and may not be known by many.

The group sculptures over the doorway has, as its central figure, TIME, standing on a winged world, and holding his scythe and hour glass. He is shown to be moving straight ahead, turning to either left or right and to be in full youth, never growing old. On his right is a figure of YOUTH sowing seed and on his left is OLD AGE reaping.

Above the figure of TIME is a winged figure standing on clouds and recording the acts of time while enshrined in the niche of ETERNITY.

Near the tops of the four buttresses and level with the clock faces are figures representing the eternal virtues. Facing east is TRUTH with the book of truth, and reflecting in her mirror, Christ crucified. Her foot is on a serpent representing falsehood. LOVE is the figure facing south. She is shown bearing her child in her arms over thorny paths of life. Facing west is PURITY with dove and purifying torch, crowned with bay leaves and standing on "The Flowing River". The fourth buttress figure is JUSTICE holding her scales perfectly balanced, and her sword, with her feet on oppression and vice.

The four seasons are shown on the frieze. A blossoming almond symbolises SPRING, a rose, SUMMER, an apple AUTUMN and holly WINTER.

The four gargoyles on the four corners of the roof represent the beasts fleeing from the tower of time. They are LAZY DOG, the VICIOUS DOG, the CUNNING DOG and the GREEDY DOG.

If one studies the seasons portrayed on the frieze it will be seen that they are linked to the solar pattern. Winter which sees little sun is on the northern frieze, spring, which heralds longer days and earlier sunrise is on the eastern frieze to receive the morning sun. Summer sees the longest days is on the south frieze. Autumn is on the western frieze where it receives the afternoon sun.

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