Joseph Levi Memorial Clock

Location: Coventry, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England

A memorial clock and drinking fountain, manufactured by the Lion foundry in Kirkintilloch, was erected in 1934 in honour of Joseph Levi, a local man who founded the Coventry Philanthropic Institution in 1854. The Society supported the working class during periods of unemployment and illness. It was a great success, supplying 5,000 quarts of soup and 540 loaves of bread in the first year, thanks to the members of the Society who made personal donations and organised fund raising to assist the needy.

Rising from a two tiered square plinth is a 15’ high pillar with attic base. At the base, rectangular inset panels contain a dedication plaque and two demi basins. As the column narrows four inset panels contain a second dedication plaque and a bust of Joseph Levi. An abacus supports Corinthian columns and inset arches with gables on four sides. The clock tower base is decorated with fish scale inlay. The clock, with faces pointing in all four compass directions, is surmounted by a fish scale dome with an orb and spire finial.

The north face contains: a plaque with dedication details, ‘Founder / Of The / Philanthropic Societies / In / Coventry / President / Ald. A.H. Drinkwater J.P.; a portrait bust with the inscription, ‘Joseph Levi’; and the date, ‘Erected / By / Public Subscription / 1934’.

The east face contains a demi basin and the inscription, ‘The Coventry Society / Founded 1854 / Chapel Fields Society / Founded 1888 / Farlsdon Society / Founded 1900 / Foleshill Society / Founded 1904’. A small stone step was made available beneath the basin to assist younger persons.

The west face contains a demi basin and the inscription, ‘Golden Cross Society / Founded 1859 / Hillfields Society / Founded 1888 / Stoke Society / Founded 1904 / Charterhouse Society / Founded 1925’.

The clock’s mechanical movement was replaced with an electric movement which corroded over time and caused it to seize. Although a beloved feature in the park, vandals defaced it with graffiti, and managed to throw a rim and tire onto the clock tower. The neglected structure fell into disrepair, and the council eventually encircled it with a fence as a safety precaution.

It was dismantled in 2011 and put into storage to allow the construction of the play area known as Dr. Dave Tick Tock Play Area. The Gosford Park and Stoke Park Residents Associations have petitioned the City Council to restore the clock. A campaign named ‘Time to Bring the Clock Back’ will assist the endeavour by organising fund raising events. A specialist company in Leicester was hired to examine the clock and prepare an estimate.

Glossary

  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

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Posted on December 3, 2014, in Architecture, Cast Iron, Clock tower, England, Lion Foundry, Memorial Drinking Fountain and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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