Like Clockwork…


Campaign Launch…

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.


5 thoughts on “Like Clockwork…

  1. It’s certainly a striking building but I fear you over-egg slightly with your ‘it’s a close to beauty …’ comment. In any event, it’s a design stolen from the Palazzo Pubblico in Sienna.

  2. This is true. Joe Chamberlain was a fan of the Mangia Tower in Sienna, and based the tower at Birmingham on it. Nonetheless, it should be open.

  3. I have previously asked this, with a firm and negative response. there are surely amazing views to be had. i had to make do with the top floor of muirhead, which was pretty good itself.

  4. So I’ve been told. A simple net would prevent this, and it could be made from filaments that can’t be seen, so as to not distort the building.

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