TIME has run out for a historic Sunderland landmark – but there is no cause for alarm.
The Echo clock, which dates from the 1920s and is framed in a model of the old Wearmouth Bridge, kept time outside both the Bridge Street and Pennywell offices over the decades.
But, in preparation for the paper’s move to Rainton next month, the timepiece has now been removed from the main entrance of the office in Pennywell – with Beamish Museum to be its new home.
Managing director Stephen Plews said: “The clock is a unique part of the Echo’s long and proud history, and we were determined to make sure that our heritage was saved for the future.”
“We were absolutely delighted when Beamish offered to house the clock. It will be proudly displayed at the museum, so people will be able to enjoy it for many generations to come.”
The clock, produced by London-based Synchronome Co. Ltd, is believed to have been erected at the Echo in Bridge Street in 1929 – at around the time the new Wearmouth Bridge was opened.
Indeed, a photograph from the ceremony on October 31, featuring the Duke of York inspecting the DLI Guard before knocking a silver rivet into the bridge, shows the Echo clock at 12.35pm.
“Beamish is delighted to receive the donation of such an iconic piece of Wearside’s history,” said Jonathan Kindleysides, keeper of industry at the County Durham museum. “Its future has been secured by becoming part of the museum’s collection. As soon as there is a suitable location to house the clock, it will again be on public display for all to enjoy.”
Specialists from Sheepfolds-based firm Tyne and Wear Access spent three hours carefully dismantling the clock on Tuesday – which has weathered and rusted over time – before taking it to Beamish.
“It was a tricky job, as the clock is very old-fashioned, built at a time when things were meant to last,” said John Lewins, owner of the family-run access, equipment, training and hire firm.
“It weighed in at around 350kgs and we had to use a grinder to free it from the wall. It’s not the hardest job we’ve done, but it’s certainly one of the most historic. We feel privileged to have been involved.”