Preserving Watton Clock Tower

The Watton Clock Tower is situated on Watton high street in Norfolk, and in 2015 it’s clock face broke and the tower was found to be in a state of disrepair. The tower itself suffered a severe leak and the structural timbers were at risk of serious deterioration. 

The tower was built in 1679 by Christopher Hey, a wealthy local merchant who designed the unusual structure after a terrible town fire in 1674. The bell located in the tower acted as a warning bell, to be sounded in the event of another town disaster.

The Clock Tower was altered in 1827 when the brick was rendered in cement, and at the same time a new clock was installed. Later, in 1935 the clock face was replaced to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.

Currently, it is much more difficult to make alterations to listed buildings, even if those alterations have the purpose of preserving the existing structure. Wherever possible, Historic England try to work with surveyors and contractors to ensure both the aesthetic and structural integrity of a building is maintained.

A report submitted by NPS, the project managers for the clock tower repairs, identified that work was needed on the copper roof, gutters and floors. The need for timber treatment was also identified.

Association members , B & W Damp and Timber, completed the application of chemical treatments to timbers in the roof and first floor flooring space of the clock tower. Lignum Pro D156 was selected as the appropriate timber treatment, as its dual purpose allows treatment of both dry and wet rot while repelling wood boring insects. Lignum Pro D156 penetrates deep into the timber to deliver the active ingredients, and effectively preserving the vital timber structures in the Watton Clock Tower.