Jubilee Clock

Location: Douglas, Isle of Man

Situated at Victoria St and Loch Promenade this clock tower drinking fountain was donated by GW Dumbell in 1887 as a commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Manufactured at Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the tower was 32 feet high. The front of the octagonal pedestal originally offered a large drinking trough for horses supported by legs in the form of hooves and fetlocks. Receptacles for human consumption were supplied in the form of small basins with a trefoil art-form located between the basin and the tap above.

Bands of quatrefoil fret are in each of the eight panels surrounding the pedestal. Seated above angled gables are eight commemorative panels of alternating cartouches with peaked terminals and arch faceplates. In rotational order:

  • 1887
  • The Jubilee Clock / Was Refurbished In 1996 / As Part Of / Douglas Corporation’s Centenary / Celebrations. / It Was Recomissioned At A / Ceremony Performed By The / Worshipful The Mayor, Mr. Councillor / D.W. Christian J.P. / On Sunday 22nd September / 1996.
  • Queen
  • A bust of Queen Victoria
  • Victoria
  • Presented / by / George William Dumbell / as a Jubilee gift / to the / Town of Douglas / June 1887
  • Jubilee
  • A bust of Queen Victoria

A two tiered acroter supports an attic base with four slender columns. The column capital supports a four sided clock bound by decorative spandrels. The acroteria is edged with elaborate scroll relief, and at each corner is an acorn finial, a symbol of life and immortality. The structure is surmounted with a decorative openwork corona terminating in a ball finial. A chiming bell cast by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough, England is suspended in the centre of the corona. The 8-day clock mechanism was hand cranked and used a descending weight in the column. It was converted to electricity in 1965. The four clock faces originally lit by small gas jets were also converted to use electricity.

The clocks were dispatched to England for restoration in 1996 at which time an electronically operated mechanism and chime was installed.

On 20 September 2002 the structure was registered on the Protected Buildings Register.

In 2012 an application was made to move the clock tower to ease traffic flow. The move of eight metres has centrally positioned it in the street and enabled pedestrians to walk around the clock. Moving the clock tower, which weighs five tons, and seating it on a circular marble plinth, took two days. The feat was completed on 25 October 2013.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Corona, a crown
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Gable, triangular portion of a wall between edges of a dual pitched roof
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Spandrel, the triangular space between two arches
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
  • Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes
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