Posted on 14 November, 2014 by (Article by Michael Marsh).
They were an iconic feature on one of Tyneside’s most notable landmarks for more than 80 years.
And the public will soon set their watches by the famous Co-op clocks when they are replaced, two years since being stolen by scrap metal thieves.
The neon clock faces will light up the sky above the towers on the Co-op building on Newgate Street in Newcastle when they are installed in December.
The originals were stolen and sold for scrap, fetching an estimated six-figure sum, but clockmakers at Smith of Derby have recreated them as part of a major restoration of the building.
Work on the dials began in August and, because the originals were no longer available, staff had to work partly off old photographs to ensure they were faithfully replicated.
While some of the original clock workings have remained, some, including the old barometer, were no longer in working order. They will instead be put on display along with some other of the original parts that could not be used in the new models.
Tony Charlesworth, technical sales engineer, said: “It was an intricate job and not having the originals to work with certainly complicated issues, but we are delighted to have been able to recreate the clocks exactly how they looked when they were first installed all those years ago.”
The iconic Grade II listed former department store – which extends to nearly 170,000 sq ft over six floors - has been a feature of the city’s skyline since it opened in 1932.
It is considered to be one of the best examples of an interwar building in Newcastle with its twin towers, sweeping curves and huge windows and was once an elegant shopping outlet.
The building was designed by LG Ekins, a Co-operative Wholesale Society Architect, and is art deco in style with a highly stylised facade and internal fixtures and fittings, including marble-lined stair cases.
It is being fully redeveloped by Interserve to create a mixed-use scheme, incorporating retail and leisure units on the ground and basement floors as well as a 184-bed hotel operated by Premier Inn, due to be finished in December 2015.
For more information on the New Castle Co-op clock project view our case study on the project here
For questions regarding the project or any future projects in your area feel free to contact us here
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