Byline: KEN ROGERS journeys into Liverpool's past
MY recent Sunday Memories column about the Three Graces and the Liver Building in particular sparked an interesting email from Gordon Williams of Penketh. He was reminded that another Echo reader had recently asked why the Liver Bird clock no longer marked the passing hours with its familiar chimes.
Gordon said: "I can't recall if the clock ever struck the quarter hours, but it has occurred to me that perhaps the chime has been stopped to avoid disturbance to sleeping guests in nearby hotels."
Reflecting on Gordon's interesting conspiracy theory, I suppose you can add in the hundreds of apartment dwellers who are now within chiming distance of one of our greatest buildings.
Gordon added: "If it is a noise issue I would have thought that some sort of trigger device could be fitted to mute the chime during night hours. I'm sure that reinstating the sound of the clock would add to the atmosphere for tourists and visitors, as well as providing a comforting sense of normality for us locals. Maybe you could investigate?" No sooner said than done, Gordon. A spokesman for the Liver Building confirmed that it's a technical and funding issue that has temporarily silenced the chimes, but that they are in the process of sorting it out as part of their budget process.
No doubt there will be complaints in some quarters when the chimes resume. We are always reading about residents of English villages going to war when newcomers suddenly arrive and demand that the local church bells are silenced.
But the Liver Building is a national treasure and so I'm sure interested parties will ultimately adopt the right stance.
The building has two clocks with three faces on the riverside tower and one on the land facing tower.
The 25 feet dials match the wingspan of the Liver Birds. The original plan for the structure was for traditional chiming bells, and recesses were designed in the tower. However, concern about the weight on a 'skyscraper' building that, at the time, was using new construction methods meant this plan was not followed through.
The clocks are electrically driven. Chimes were added in 1953 as a tribute to Royal Liver Friendly Society individuals who died during the war. Piano hammers strike wires with the sound amplified through loudspeakers, but this has not been working.
The Liver Building timepieces were called George clocks because they started at the precise moment King George V was crowned on 22nd June, 1911. One of the giant dials was used as a table for a celebration dinner ahead of the official opening of the building.
GREAT GEORGE: This | |clock will chime again
TIME FOR TEA: Eating at the Royal Liver clock, c 1911 |