Monday 7th January 2008
I went to ask at the University reception today how I would go about climbing to the top of the Clock Tower. The assistant replied “You don’t”. Fair enough I thought, and retreated with tail between legs.
It occurred to me though what a striking, well-proportioned piece of architecture this is. It’s as close to beauty as man is capable. For over a century, higher than Big Ben, it’s stood firm against the elements. It wasn’t designed for anything in particular. The founders of the University built it because they wanted something impressive and just because they could. It belongs to an age of ambition, and of fewer accountants.
There is no question that it should be open for everyone to climb, and to gain inspiration from. What after all is an essay compared to this great feat of engineering? Currently it remains shut off at the bottom, due to health and safety. I’d like to make Old Joe healthy and safe for students and tourists to scale. It is an insult to the ambition of the University’s founders and to the ingenuity of its designers, for the most impressive thing about this structure to be shut off: the view.
There will be a facebook group shortly and further enquires. Will keep you posted.