Topic: Stratford Clock Tower and Glockenspiel

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Stratford Clock Tower and Glockenspiel

Stratford's first clock tower was erected in 1924 standing outside the new post office (see linked topic). The clock and bell chimes were donated by the town as a memorial to soldiers who lost their lives in the Boer War and World War One. 

In 1963 Stratford opened a new post office in Miranda Street. The old post office and clocktower earlier assessed as an earthquake risk were eventually demolished in 1967. The town clock finally stopped at 3.00 pm on 20 February 1967 and demolition began soon after. The clock and memorial bells were put in storage with the clock expected to be installed in the replacement tower.

The new clock tower (above as it looks now, below as it was in 1969) was erected at a different location, outside the old entrance to the railway station on Broadway. The successful tender went to D.M. Black of Stratford for a contact price of $14,967, with installation of the clock extra. Only a month later in July 1968 it was announced that a mistake in the design meant that the box for the old clock was too small for the old clock and a new one would be needed. The master electric mechanism was to be housed in a jewellers next to the tower and there would be a slave clock in the tower itself. Despite the problems work commenced on the tower and it was completed with the new clock installed in March 1969. 

Stratford Clock Tower (New Plymouth Photo News 1969).

In 1996 the clock tower underwent an 'Elizabethan' makeover. As part of the renovation the original 1924 clock faces were reinstalled and the clock mechanism was put on display on the first floor. The official opening by then Mayor, David Walter, took place on 14 September 1996.

The tower was further modified in 1999 when, with the help of a $65,000 grant from the TSB Community Trust, Stratford built New Zealand's first glockenspiel (literally "playing clock").

Stratford Engineering and Lyal Barrett were responsible for the design and engineering work. The figures (Romeo and Juliet) were produced by Nigel Ogle of Tawhiti Museum. The figurines appear in different positions in the tower and it features both the music and spoken dialogue from the play.

The glockenspiel performs four times daily: 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm.

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Stratford Clock Tower and Glockenspiel