Loughborough Town Hall’s historic clock bell is chiming once again after several years of silence.
The borough council has restored the clock bell to bring the rings back to Loughborough’s high street. LED lighting has also been added to make the clock face brighter as well as more energy efficient.
Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough, said: “The town hall is a fantastic theatre and an iconic building in the town centre so I am really pleased we can once again hear the historic clock bell ring.
“The bell has rung in Loughborough for more than 130 years and I’m sure it’s return will be welcomed.”
The chiming of the bell has been restored following some repair work on a key part of the clock mechanism. Along with the LED lighting and some other electrical work, the project has cost around £4,000.
The town hall opened in 1855 as a corn exchange with a ballroom upstairs. In 1888, Loughborough was granted a Charter of Incorporation which established an elected council. The Corporation purchased the town hall and it became Loughborough’s civic centre.
The clock was designed and manufactured in 1879 and installed in 1880. It measures 5ft 6inches and weighs almost a ton. At the time the clock cost £200 and it had a reputation for never being more than two or three seconds slow or fast.
It escaped damage when there was a huge blaze at the town hall in 1972 although the hands are said to have stopped at the time of 11.35pm.
It was removed temporarily in November 1979 for some restoration work and it was put back up in 1980.
The current clock bell was provided by Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough and cast in 1929 and installed on April 30, 1930. It is a recast of an original bell, also provided by Taylor’s, which was cast in 1879.
The current bell weighs about 381kg (seven and a half of hundred weight) and measures nearly 32 inches in diameter. It is tuned to B sharp which is the same key as Loughborough Parish Church.
An inscription on the bell reads “This bell and clock, the gift of the late E.B. Farnham of Quorndon house, MP for North Leicestershire.”
Today, Loughborough Town Hall is a popular theatre hosting shows and events by local and national performers attracting around 67,000 visitors a year.