Albert Clock ceremony veiled in secrecy

THE covers are coming off one of Barnstaple s most famous landmarks at a special unveiling ceremony this weekend. The town s iconic Albert Clock has been shrouded in scaffolding since March this year - but on Saturday morning, the council has promised to

THE covers are coming off one of Barnstaple's most famous landmarks at a special unveiling ceremony this weekend.

The town's iconic Albert Clock has been shrouded in scaffolding since March this year - but on Saturday morning, the council has promised to reveal new-look Albert in all his restored glory - bell and all!

Built in 1862 by the people of the town to commemorate the death of Prince Albert, the affectionately-named "Four-Faced Liar" - so called because each of the tower's four faces tells a slightly different time - has undergone a complete restoration thanks in part to a �188,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

And although Barnstaple Town Council refuses to reveal the exact details of how it plans to mark the official re-start of the clock, it has assured that he'll be ticking - and chiming - again from 11am.


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Town Clerk Anne Jenkins said: "This will be a spectacular event, a one-off occasion that we naturally wish to mark in style, but I'd hate to spoil the surprise.

"I'd encourage everyone to come along and be part what promises to be a great event."

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What is known is that the special event will start at with a mayoral procession, led by the Youth Town Marching Band, from the Pannier Market at 10.15am, arriving at The Square at 10.30am. Barnstaple Heritage Centre staff and volunteers will be dressed in full Victorian costume to reflect the clock's mid-19th century heritage.

Britain's Got Talent star Merlin Cadogan will continue the theme with a "Victorian strongman" performance, while other entertainment will include Punch and Judy shows, vintage fair rides and exhibits, and horse and carriage rides from The Square to Rock Park. There will also be a free, drop-in art workshop in which children will be able to create something to take away.

"The event will also give the public the ideal opportunity to hear the tower's bell chime for the first time in many years, something we hope it will do for all future significant events in the town, such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve," said Mrs Jenkins.

n Earlier this month - as the clock's new faces were being installed - the Gazette took an intimate tour of the clock tower and spoke to contactors entrusted with its careful restoration.

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