Belfast Telegraph

Famous Belfast Telegraph clock gets twin at our new offices

Keeping up with the times...  how icon was recreated

By David Young

A landmark clock that kept time for the people of Belfast for almost 150 years is back in a new incarnation for the 21st century.

A beautifully crafted replica of the Belfast Telegraph's iconic clock was mounted outside the newspaper's offices at Clarendon Dock yesterday.

Throughout two world wars, Luftwaffe air raids, and the bombs and bullets of the Troubles, the Tele clock was a constant presence in the life of the bustling city.

The original clock was fitted to the Belfast Telegraph building after it was constructed in 1886 - when Gladstone was Prime Minister and the creation of Northern Ireland was still decades years away.

Ticking away for almost a century and a half, the Tele clock became a symbol of the city.

But when the newspaper relocated to new premises in the city's Clarendon Dock in 2016, the original clock could not be moved.

The old Telegraph premises had become a listed building, and the Tele clock was considered an integral part of the city's Victorian architectural heritage.

Gail Walker, Editor of the Belfast Telegraph, said: "From its vantage point in Royal Avenue the Belfast Telegraph clock has been an eyewitness to the history unfolding all around it and being reported in the newspaper's pages produced within the building on which it is mounted.

"It is also one of the city's landmarks, as well as a symbol of the newspaper's cherished history and it is only fitting that this splendid replica should welcome staff and visitors alike to our new premises, quite literally moving with the times."

Managing Director Richard McClean said that the newspaper had wanted to keep a little bit of the old Belfast Telegraph tradition alive after its move to Clarendon Dock.

Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Piece by piece, the replica Belfast Telegraph clock made by Lurgan-based clockmaker Canavan is installed on the side of the newspaper’s new home in Clarendon Dock, Belfast
The original clock
1935: Silver Jubilee
1941: air raid
1986: bomb explosion

"So we commissioned a replica from specialist clockmakers Canavan's, just to remind everybody of our tradition, and of what the Belfast Telegraph stands for," he said.

"Although the business has moved on, the clock still remains as a symbol of its heritage and the values of the newspaper."

Christopher Canavan of the Lurgan-based clockmaking firm said recreating such a famous and well-known clock was a complex and rewarding project - and one his firm was proud to have been involved in.

"There would be very few clocks in Ireland that would be as well known as the Telegraph clock," he said. "The original Tele clock was to a large extent hand-made - the text of the face, the scrolls, the finials and so on - and so we worked hard to retain that Victorian craftsmanship and character in the modern replica.

"Oddly enough, the original clock had no maker's name - but I'm proud that Canavan's is on the replica."

Belfast Telegraph

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