St Albans Clock Tower

St Albans Clock Tower Built in 1405, the Clock Tower is the only medieval town belfry in England. The tower with its fine bell has survived over 600 years of use. The Clock Tower is the only medieval town belfry in England.
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The Clock Tower was built in 1405, as confirmed by recent dendrochronological testing of the timbers in the floors. The plot was vacant in 1403 as a deed conveys the land from Alice, relict of Ralph att Lee to Geoffrey Fylynden. In 1412 a deed refers to the tower as the “le Clokkehouse”. The town’s people engaged THOMAS WOLVEY, formerly the Royal Mason, to build the Clock House for them. In 1427 the Clock Tower was passed over to body of officers to run and in time to the Corporation of St Albans. Today it is owned and repaired by the Council of St Albans. It is 77 feet high with walls 4 feet thick. It is consists of 5 floors:
- the ground floor which was used as a shop, is now the entrance room
- 1st Floor was living chambers and is now empty but retains the fireplace
- 2nd Floor was also living chambers and houses the main part of clock mechanism
- 3rd Floor contains the part of the clock mechanism that attaches to the clock face
- 4th Floor contains the bells

There are two bells inside, the larger one is named after the Archangel Gabriel and has been in the tower since it was built. It was cast in 1335 in Aldgate in London by WILLIAM and ROBERT BURFORD and weighs one ton and is 46 inches in diameter. It was rung at 4am to wake the town’s people for work and at 8pm in the winter and 9pm in the summer for Curfew. It was rung in cases of fire or as a warning of trouble in the town. This practiced continued until 1861 when some of the inhabitants petitioned that it might cease. The last time the clock was swung to sound the bell was in 1901 for the funeral of Queen Victoria. The frame is now so weak that it is rung by being “clocked” on the side. The small bell, dated 1729, was moved from the old Market House in 1855. The tower contained a clock probably from the time of its er****on, but there is definite evidence of the existence of a clock in 1485, when directions were given as to its maintenance and repair. The original clock had no outside face and the clock keeper had to strike the hour as indicated by the clock inside the tower. The current clock mechanism was made in 1866 by John Moore Sons and was put in place when the tower underwent major renovations. The clock face that you see now was put up in 1958. The present clock incorporates a four-legged gravity escapement invented by Lord Grimthorpe, the local horologist and restorer of the Abbey who designed Big Ben's mechanism.

Operating as usual

17/04/2021

For Whom the Bell Tolls…

The Great Bell, Gabriel, was tolled for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh today, Saturday, 17th April. Just before the 3pm minute silence the medieval bell was manually rung slowly to honour the Duke of Edinburgh.

2021 Season - the Clock Tower will be closed until further notice.
12/04/2021

2021 Season - the Clock Tower will be closed until further notice.

2021 Season - the Clock Tower will be closed until further notice.

Clock Tower Model at Museum + GalleryThe finished, scale model of the Clock Tower finally arrived at the Museum + Galler...
16/10/2020

Clock Tower Model at Museum + Gallery
The finished, scale model of the Clock Tower finally arrived at the Museum + Gallery on 13th October 2020 as part of the 175th Anniversary of SAHAAS’s Exhibition. The design and construction of the model was the third-year degree project of University of Hertfordshire student, Beth Jones. The intricate detailing includes the parapet gargoyles, readable signs on the front of the Tower, the ornate windows, realistic flint work covering the building and the two bell frames that can be viewed through a peephole on the belfry floor.

And the winners are...Hazel, Alex and Dylan. Their winning entries for the Clock Tower design competition - "Tick! Tock!...
10/10/2020

And the winners are...
Hazel, Alex and Dylan. Their winning entries for the Clock Tower design competition - "Tick! Tock! Get down from the Clock" - are now on display in the St Albans Museum + Gallery as part of the newly opened 175th Anniversary of SAHAAS Exhibition.

Clock Tower spruced up for 12th/13th Sept. weekendGary, the painter, spent 4 days last week lime washing the ground and ...
17/08/2020

Clock Tower spruced up for 12th/13th Sept. weekend
Gary, the painter, spent 4 days last week lime washing the ground and first floor internal walls. The white paint has made the entrance look much brighter and more welcoming for our visitors. The Clock Tower will only be open for one weekend this year due to Covid 19 - 12th/13th September - to pre-booked visitors. Booking via Eventbrite.

More flowers to brighten up the Clock TowerBeautiful planters have arrived in High Street, including one in front of the...
15/08/2020

More flowers to brighten up the Clock Tower
Beautiful planters have arrived in High Street, including one in front of the Clock Tower, laden with a variety of colourful flowers.

Open for One Weekend OnlyThe tower has been closed this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic but we are opening it for o...
07/08/2020

Open for One Weekend Only
The tower has been closed this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic but we are opening it for one weekend only, 12th/13th September, to coincide with Heritage Open Days.

Visitors will need to pre-book their tickets to visit the Clock Tower through Eventbrite - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/climb-st-albans-clock-tower-tickets-115694321831

We ask that you arrive in plenty of time for your specified time slot - we have allowed 20 minutes per visit. In order to keep to our booking schedule, we will not accept latecomers. Only one social bubble, maximum 6 people, can visit in each time slot. In line with government guidelines and to ensure the safety of all our staff and visitors, everyone entering the building will be required to wear a face mask (unless this is not possible for access reasons). Hand sanitiser is provided and we ask that you use this as you enter and exit the building.

The Clock Towerin the style ofPablo Picasso Weeping Womanby Chaz
19/07/2020

The Clock Tower
in the style of
Pablo Picasso
Weeping Woman
by Chaz

The Clock Towerin the style ofClaude MonetHouses of Parliamentby Chaz
18/07/2020

The Clock Tower
in the style of
Claude Monet
Houses of Parliament
by Chaz

The Clock Towerin the style of Salvador DaliPersistence of Memoryby Chaz
17/07/2020

The Clock Tower
in the style of
Salvador Dali
Persistence of Memory
by Chaz

The Clock Towerin the style ofEdvard MunchThe Screamby Chaz
16/07/2020

The Clock Tower
in the style of
Edvard Munch
The Scream
by Chaz

The Clock Tower - In the Style of...Van Gogh Starry Nightby Chaz
15/07/2020

The Clock Tower - In the Style of...
Van Gogh
Starry Night
by Chaz

St Albans Clock Tower's cover photo
05/07/2020

St Albans Clock Tower's cover photo

St Albans Clock Tower's cover photo
05/07/2020

St Albans Clock Tower's cover photo

Tick! Tock! Get down from the Clock!Clock Tower Design CompetitionThere is just over a week left to get your entries int...
05/07/2020

Tick! Tock! Get down from the Clock!
Clock Tower Design Competition

There is just over a week left to get your entries into the Clock Tower Design & Draw Competition. To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, we've created a competition for everyone (13 years and over, 8 to 12 years and aged 7 years and under). We'd like you to imagine how visitors to the Clock Tower could get down from the roof top, assuming that, because of social distancing, they're not able to climb back down the narrow staircase. Then draw the best picture you can to illustrate your solution, and send us a copy. The competition closes on 15 July. Good luck!
Send scanned entries, name, age, email address, a couple of sentences explaining how your design works, along with a title to: [email protected].
Full terms and conditions can be found on:
www.stalbanshistory.org/new-contributions/clock-tower-drawing-competition-tick-tock-get-down-from-the-clock

Each of the three category winners will be awarded a Congratulations Goody Bag:

Tick! Tock! Get down from the Clock!Children’s Clock Tower CompetitionTo celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the St Alban...
21/06/2020

Tick! Tock! Get down from the Clock!
Children’s Clock Tower Competition
To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, we've created a competition for children, open to those aged 7 years and under, 8 to 12, and 13 and over. We'd like you to imagine how visitors to the Clock Tower could exit when they've reached the top, assuming that, because of social distancing, they're not able to retrace their steps down the narrow spiral staircase. Then draw the best picture you can to illustrate your solution, and send in a copy. The competition closes on 15 July. Good luck!
Send scanned entries, name, age, email address, a couple of sentences explaining how your design works, along with a title to: [email protected].
Full terms and conditions can be found on:
www.stalbanshistory.org/new-contributions/clock-tower-drawing-competition-tick-tock-get-down-from-the-clock

Planters of pollinator flowers
02/06/2020

Planters of pollinator flowers

02/06/2020

The Clock Tower Starts the Pollinator Highway
Four planters, filled with pollinator flowers, have been arranged around the base of the Clock Tower as part of the St Albans City Centre Pollinator Project, run by the Wilderhood Watch, funded by the BID. Hopefully, it will attract admiring glances from passers by, along with the hoped for bees.

Good Friday Openings over the last 5 yearsWe've been fortunate enough over the last few years to have the incumbent Mayo...
10/04/2020

Good Friday Openings over the last 5 years
We've been fortunate enough over the last few years to have the incumbent Mayor or Deputy Mayor preside over the Official Opening of the Clock Tower. Here are a few photos to remind us of how a traditional opening of the Clock Tower looked like...Mayor Geoff Harrison (2015), Deputy Mayor Gill Clark (2016), Mayor Francis Leonard (2017), Mayor Iqbal Zia (2018) and Mayor Rosemary Farmer (2019)

Hopefully the Clock Tower will be open sometime over the summer....
10/04/2020

Hopefully the Clock Tower will be open sometime over the summer....

10/04/2020

Good Friday, 10th April 2020
Traditionally today would be the official opening of the Clock Tower by the Mayor of St Albans, but, sadly, that couldn't happen due to the Virus. Hopefully the Clock Tower door will be open again to visitors sometime over the summer....

19/03/2020

Clock Tower opening postponed
The Clock Tower will not be opening this Good Friday for the start of the season due to the Coronavirus and will remain closed until further notice.

16/03/2020

Postponement of Clockateers' Party - Friday, 20th March 2020
Due to the Coronavirus we have decided to postpone the upcoming Clockateers' Party. Each year we hold a party to thank all our Clock Tower volunteers who give up their time to man the Tower on weekends and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September each year. We are very thankful for their help and hope to hold the party later in the year.

14/01/2020

Admission Price Increase
The admission price for the Clock Tower has remained unchanged for the last 9 years and so inevitably, and regretfully, the time has come to increase the price. From the start of the new season, Good Friday, 10th April 2020 the entrance fee will be £2 for adults but children will remain free. This still represents very good value as for less than the price of a coffee our visitors can see the Victorian Turret clock, the Medieval bell, Gabriel and the magnificent views after climbing 93 steps to the roof.

14/11/2019

Sunday, 17th November 2019 – Magical Moment at the Clock Tower
As part of the St Albans Christmas Cracker Street Festival this Sunday, 17th November, the Clock Tower will be open from 2pm to 6pm. The Tower lights will be turned on by the Mayor of St Albans for a magical moment at 5pm.
Admission from 2pm until 4.30pm will be £1 for adults and accompanied children under 12, free. Due to over-crowding in previous years, entry from 4.45pm until closure at 6pm will be limited to 20 visitors. Advanced Tickets for this time slot will be on sale from 2pm at the Clock Tower, adults £5 and children £2.

01/10/2019

Clock Tower Closes for end of season
The Clock Tower opened for its last day of the season on Sunday, 29th September. We welcomed just under 10,000 visitors to the Tower over the summer.

Heritage Open Days are coming...The Clock Tower will be open from Thursday, 19th September to Sunday, 22nd September, 10...
06/09/2019

Heritage Open Days are coming...
The Clock Tower will be open from Thursday, 19th September to Sunday, 22nd September, 10.30am to 4.45pm, for Heritage Open Days. Entrance will be free for all four days.

Enjoy St Albans
25/08/2019

Enjoy St Albans

Please note that St Albans Clock Tower is CLOSED today. It will be open as usual on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September.

Enjoy St Albans
24/08/2019

Enjoy St Albans

Please note that this weekend the Clock Tower will be open 10:30am-5pm on Sat 24th, CLOSED on Sun 25th and may also be CLOSED on Mon 26th. It will be open as usual on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September.

Alban Pilgrimage from the top of the Clock Tower - 22 June 2019
22/06/2019

Alban Pilgrimage from the top of the Clock Tower - 22 June 2019

Roman Dressing Up at the Clock Tower - 22 June 2019As part of the St Albans Roman Festival, Lydia (5), Isaac (10) and Th...
22/06/2019

Roman Dressing Up at the Clock Tower - 22 June 2019
As part of the St Albans Roman Festival, Lydia (5), Isaac (10) and Theo (5) dressed up as Roman soldiers at the top of the Clock Tower.

Roman Festival - Clock Tower Event Sat 22nd/Sun 23rd JuneOpening 10.30am - 5pmClimb to the top of the Clock Tower and th...
18/06/2019

Roman Festival - Clock Tower Event Sat 22nd/Sun 23rd June
Opening 10.30am - 5pm
Climb to the top of the Clock Tower and the whole family can dress up as Roman Soldiers, complete with tunics, breastplates, helmets and swords. With the Cathedral in the background it will make a memorable photo to treasure. Children can also play “Hunt the Toy Roman Soldiers” in the Clock Tower winning a prize of a bag of chocolate coins if they find them all!

18/06/2019

Roman Festival - Clock Tower Event Sat 22nd/Sun 23rd June
Opening 10.30am - 5pm
Climb to the top of the Clock Tower and the whole family can dress up as Roman Soldiers, complete with tunics, breastplates, helmets and swords. With the Cathedral in the background it will make a memorable photo to treasure. Children can also play “Hunt the Toy Roman Soldiers” in the Clock Tower winning a prize of a bag of chocolate coins if they find them all!

Clay Model of the Clock Tower on Display from Good Friday, 19th April 2019 until it falls apart...A meter high, clay mod...
20/04/2019

Clay Model of the Clock Tower on Display from Good Friday, 19th April 2019 until it falls apart...
A meter high, clay model of the Clock Tower is currently on display at the Clock Tower. The model was made by the Dacorum and Chiltern Potters Guild and embellished by visitors to the "Big Clay Event" held at the St Albans Museum + Gallery last weekend. As the model has not been fired, it won't last long and has to be sprayed with water to keep it moist. We hope to have it on display for the next couple of weekends - or until it falls apart!

Address

Market Place, St Albans
Saint Albans
AL3 4EL

Opening Hours

Saturday 10:30 - 16:45
Sunday 10:30 - 16:45

Telephone

+44(0) 1727 751810

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On the roof of St. Albans Clock Tower!