City Hall Clock Tower

Fredericton City Hall Clock Tower

City Hall Clock Tower

When the city of Fredericton was granted its charter in 1848, the City Council was given the authority to build a City Hall and install a public clock. However, when City Hall was rebuilt in 1876 following a fire, it did not initially include a clock.

Mayor George Fenety, who assumed office in 1877, was resolved to provide a public clock without levying additional taxes. A “Clock Fund” had been created, but it was only after Mayor Fenety pledged his own salary and the honorariums given to City Revisors that the clock installation could finally proceed. After consulting with local watchmaker James White, the city procured a clock from the renowned English manufacturers, Gillett and Bland. Guided by the expertise of Sir Edmund Beckett, parts of this clock were used as a model for the famous Big Ben in London. Arriving in April 1878, the clock was set up by Thomas Ross and first chimed at noon on May 1, 1878. Successive mayors emulated Mayor Fenety’s generosity, contributing their salaries until the clock was entirely paid off in 1888.

In 2006, after nearly a century and a third of service, the clock required restoration. After conducting extensive research to find tower clock restoration specialists, the City Council appointed Balzer Family Clock Works from Freeport, Maine, in January 2008 to restore the historic brass and iron clock mechanism. As part of the refurbishment, the clockworks were moved from the clock tower to the lobby adjacent to the Council Chamber. In May 2008, the clock was disassembled and transported to Freeport for repairs. After a year of meticulous restoration work, the clock was returned to City Hall in June 2009.

City Hall Clock Tower

The City Hall Clock Tower timepiece in City Hall operates on a weight-driven mechanism that uses gravity as its power source. The weights gradually fall from the ceiling to the floor, propelling the gears in the clockwork as they descend. In the past, these weights needed to be manually wound every two days, but now an electric motor takes on this task. The clock employs a pendulum for regulation, completing a full swing every two seconds, which then drives the escapement. The escapement ensures accurate timekeeping, while the clockwork turns shafts that move the hands of the clock and strike the hour bell.

This post has already been read 2896 times!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »