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Penryn clock tower 'held up by force of habit'
6:00am Saturday 18th January 2014 in News
There is no more familiar Penryn landmark than its town clock - that instantly recognizable feature at the top of the tower above the Town Hall, writes Mike Truscott.
Thirty-seven years ago, however, the bell was positively tolling for the clock and the whole tower.
The Packet of January 14, 1977, reported that members of Penryn Town Council were “startled” to learn that the tower supporting the clock was in urgent need of repair.
The tower, built in 1825, was so dilapidated that the bell could no longer be rung until extensive repairs were undertaken.
Town Clerk Reg Chegwidden put it this way: “The architect told me the tower is being held down by force of gravity and held up by force of habit!”
The Deputy Mayor, Mrs V Grevatte-Ball, said it was a “miracle” no great damage had been done already.
The report of architects A G Nisbet and Associates, of Helston, warned that vibration from the ringing of the bell could cause the entire structure to collapse.
The Mayor, Mr J C Bedford Daniel, said the council was pulling out all the stops to secure funding for the repairs - estimated to cost £7,500.
There were hopes of grant aid from Cornwall County Council and Carrick District Council, with approaches also to the Department of the Environment.
Well, the tower and its clock clearly lived to see a great many more days. Not so, alas, the doomed Dredge and Marine shipbuilding yard just downriver.
The same issue of the Packet also reported the desperate last attempts to save the yard from closure, with 130 jobs on the line. In seven short years, it had built up an international reputation, but two months later it would be all over.
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