Friday, 8 April 2016

Leicester (Part 1 - City Centre)

Leicester must be the largest English city not covered in some form or another by this blog, so it was time to pay a visit. It doesn't have the most glamorous of images to the outsider, and they are clearly now trying to make the most out of the rediscovery of the body of Richard III. Which is perhaps not the greatest marketing strategy in the world given its rhyming slang meaning. Anyway, dead kings are not in the realm of this blog, so lets get on with clocks.

And there are lots of the in Leicester, which increased the city's standings in my eyes. So many that they have to be divided into a number of postings.

We start in the city centre, where there are several places where you can stand and see a clock in each direction.

And from many directions you can see this clock tower:


This is the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, erected on the site of the old hay market. Designed by Joseph Goddard, it was built in 1868 - 69.

It is built mainly of Ketton stone, but with a base of Mountsorral granite.

Looking past the base of the clock tower into Gallowtree Gate, we can spy a large cuboid-ish clock:

Which turns out to be on the premises of H Samuel. This is certainly a different design to the one we see on many of their shops, so full marks for local variation.

However, I never think it is a good advert for a jewellers to have a clock that is clearly showing completely different times on its various faces. Come on H Samuel, get a grip.

Although perhaps it is all the fault of these local vandals.

First you hit it with a cricket bat, and then you kick a ball against it. All in broad daylight. The good people of Leicester need to think carefully who they are going to vote for in the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections (the what?, I hear you cry).

Perhaps I can find out more about this statue at the local Tourist Information Office just down the road at the junction of Horsefair Street. The only trouble is that it is shut due to electrical problems caused by flooding. Is this vandalism problem out of control?
Oh well, at least we can admire the clock.

Which is "by appointment" and by Kemps.

Looking down into Horsefair Street we spy this clock tower:

...which belongs to the Town Hall.

The Town Hall was built in 1874 - 76 on the site of the old cattle market. It replaced the Guildhall (coming up soon) as the administration centre of the city.

This jewellers can be found in Market Street.

I shouldn't really include this next set of photos as they don't really show a clock. But hey ho.

Smith Partnership, solicitors, in Pocklingtons Walk. Worth including for the name of the road alone.

And is this a real clock? With only one remaining hand.

This is the Social Services offices in Friar Lane.

Now this is a real clock - even if it was running about three hours slow.

A large clock, mounted in the window of Cellini, a luggage and leather shop at the corner of Hotel Street and Market Place (and other branches in Eastbourne, Beverley and Banbury - but not necessarily with clocks).

Now to Leicester Market. Well actually to the Corn Exchange by the market. Can you see the clock artistically framed in the "C" of the sign?

The Corn Exchange was built in 1850 as a single-storey building, but an upper floor was added in 1856, complete with a clock tower and an amazing external staircase.

Malcolm Arcade is altogether less grand and less historic. 

And its only clock is an off-the-shelf, stick in on a hook Kensington clock. You see these all over the place, and I don't always include them as they don't feel like real public clocks. But today I am feeling generous.

What's this? This is not a proper clock either. It is a sundial for goodness sake. Don't often include these either, but I shall continue on my run of generosity. (So whilst we are at it, good luck Leicester City).

We are now in St Martin's Square shopping centre.

The north facing face is less faded that the south-facing one.

Out on the High Street at its junction with Carts Lane, lies the City Goldsmiths clock.

And further along the High Street is that of Lumbers, who are apparently "Leicester's finest jewellers since 1881" (before then they were a bit pants).

Back to the big historic buildings, but not big clocks. This is Leicester Cathedral.

The original St Martins church is over 900 years old, but it was substantially rebuilt (including the tower and steeple) in 1860. It became a cathedral in 1927.

Next door is the Guildhall, which dates back to around 1390. Go into the courtyard and you can see this:

Which, as the sign says, is a reconstruction of the clock from All Saints church (more of which in a later posting).

 Well done for making this far, ploughing through all those photographs. This is the end of Part 1 - get ready for ring road action in Part 2.

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