Time should march on, council told

22:59, Feb 05 2013
The Victoria Clock Tower is likely to be restored to full working order.
FROZEN IN TIME: The Victoria Clock Tower is likely to be restored to full working order.

The hands on the historic Victoria Clock Tower have been fixed at 12.51pm for nearly two years, but Christchurch City Council staff say time should now move on.

The council is committed to repairing the earthquake-damaged tower, erected to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, but considered leaving one face of the clock permanently fixed at the time of the quake on February 22, 2011, as a memorial.

But a report due to be considered by the council's environment and infrastructure committee tomorrow recommends the council abandon that idea and restore the clock to full working order.

In the report, the council's parks heritage contract manager, Maria Adamski, said that if one face of the clock remained at 12.51pm it would alter the purpose of the clock as a memorial to Queen Victoria's jubilee.

She said visitors would not understand the significance of the time displayed. The clock would not fulfil its purpose as a timepiece and complaints about the time being incorrect were likely.

"Restoring the clock completely to working order follows good practice heritage conservation principles, whereas mixing memorial subjects is considered inappropriate," Adamski said.

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But Anna Crighton, chairwoman of the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund Trust and president of Historic Places Aotearoa, said she supported keeping one face of the clock fixed at 12.51pm.

"The railway station clock has gone, so where else are we going to see it?

"It's part of the history of the clock and it adds another dimension to the history of our city."

She said the Victoria St clock had had a chequered history - it had arrived from Britain damaged - and keeping one face of the clock at 12.51pm would not detract from its heritage value.

"It would just be another eccentric adjunct to the clock to add to all the other eccentricities that it has gone through in its lifetime," she said.

"If you put a didactic panel at the base of the clock telling its history, visitors won't find the fact one face of the clock is fixed at a different time strange."

The Press