Time is ticking on in Peckham again for the first time in 35 years, after an old clock tower was lovingly brought back to life.
Several years ago, Peckham-based architect Benedict O’Looney clocked that the timepiece housed in the tower of the old Jones & Higgins tower was permanently telling the time as 7.25.
He decided it was the right time to restore the clock, which had been closely modelled on the famous Torre dell’Orologio in Piazza San Marco in Venice – one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Italy.
Benny struck gold after he successfully bagged a pot of Southwark Council Cleaner Greener Safer funding which, put together with some Townscape Heritage Initiative money, paid for the clock and the tower in Rye Lane to be cleaned out, restored and secured.
The clock tower was built in 1894 by Southwark architects Henry Jarvis & Sons, who also built the Walworth Town Hall, but it fell into disrepair shortly after Jones & Higgins closed in 1980. The restoration work was carried about by local contractors Stanbury & Southwark Building Services, and clock restorers Gillett & Johnston, under the direction of Benedict O’Looney Architects.
“When we found that the clock tower at Jones & Higgins was closely modelled after the Torre Orologio in Venice, we were determined to spread the word and get the town clock working again. Us Peckham folk take pride in our great collection of historic buildings,” said Benny, who has also restored parts of Peckham Rye Station.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “This is precisely the sort of project that the council wants to get behind, ensuring Peckham’s rich heritage can be appreciated and enjoyed by generations to come.”