A working committee set up by Chester City Council has today announced some radical plans to modernise the centre. The biggest change will see the world famous landmark, the Eastgate clock never looking quite the same again. Other cities will be watching the progress of this project with interest.
Residents and visitors (mainly Japanese) are up in arms at the council’s plans to remove the old clock tower on Eastgate Street and replace it with a digital clock. The clock that currently stands tall above the city was constructed in 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. It is the most photographed clock in the world (again, mainly down to the Japanese tourists and the occasional super-sized American with a bum bag). The council has cited modernisation as the main reason behind the move and say that cost is also an issue as the upkeep of the old clock is very expensive.
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Mike Jones explained the reasons behind the decision, “Chester has long been considered a modern city, a place for innovation and creativity. This is just one of the ways we will modernise Chester and bring it into the 21st century. I don’t understand why people are focusing on the clock, there are numerous other things we are doing. The clock is not easy to read as it currently stands, especially with roman numerals instead of numbers, who does Latin these days? The new digital clock will have pleasant blue neon numbers that everyone will be able to read. We have to think about the blind too, so we will have a large speaker system that will broadcast the speaking clock to passing blind and partially sighted people. It’s all about doing our bit.”
Cheryl Weston-Hargreaves, from the Eastgate Clock Protection Society was unhappy with this latest news, “It’s terrible, the clock has been there for around 50 years and now they want to change it for a billboard advertising a One Direction concert. Some people say I don’t know what I am talking about, but I am confident that fans of the clock will be up in arms at this decision. What I want to know is, who complained to the council that there wasn’t a second hand on the clock anyway?”
Ikuo Shibuya, director of Miki Travel, a Japanese tour firm, had this to say on the matter, “If our clients wanted to see neon lights they would stay at home in Tokyo. Our customers have all bought the latest cameras just so they can take photos during their 2014 trips to Chester. They like to include the clock in their pictures, it’s a favourite of theirs. When the people of our nation come to visit the wonderful city of Chester they like to take photos of clocks, pigeons, benches, buskers, different assortments of bread products and your famous lampposts. How can we promise a good holiday if we take these essentials away from them?”
World famous clock makers Grayson Clocks have told The Daily Skid, “It shows great courage for a city to move with the times like this. We have many splendid clocks that they could choose from. We have made clocks for cricket clubs, department stores and city centres, we are confident that Chester will look fantastic with a new digital clock on Eastgate Street. All these complaints make no sense at all, would Queen Victoria have complained? She wouldn’t have been amused, but she certainly wouldn’t have moaned about it. We can’t wait to start the project and work with such a wonderful city.”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said, “What a fantastic idea. We will keep an eye on how this works. If it is an unmitigated success we will do the same with Big Ben.”
It’s expected that work will commence on dismantling the old clock in March. It is believed the old clock will be sold on eBay with bids starting at 99p. We will keep you updated on the progress of this story.