Morecambeology - Marking time on Morecambe promenade
The Clock Tower stands like a giant grandfather clock overlooking Morecambe’s central promenade, writes Peter Wade.
It would once have provided a timely reminder of when to set off for the train home, the start of the show or when to be back at the guest house in time for tea. The Clock Tower dates from 1904 and was the gift of John R Birkett who was Mayor of the new Borough of Morecambe
Its story dates back though to 1861, the death of Prince Albert and the search for a suitable memorial. Enthusiasm for the project seems to have been distinctly lacking and money for the eventual result, the Albert Lamp, seems only to have been raised by combining it with the celebrations of the wedding of the Prince of Wales in 1863. Even then, the Lamp’s future was not secure. It blew down in a storm, demolishing its seat and a neighbouring fountain. By the time it had been re-erected it had become just one of many streetlamps and suffered the additional indignity of becoming a hitching post for donkeys. Eventually, the Lamp was removed to make way for the new Clock Tower, ending its days in the yard of the National School in Poulton before being sold for scrap in the 1930s.The money to pay for the Clock Tower (£400) had been provided by Mayor Birkett but was originally intended to buy a site for a public library funded by the Carnegie Foundation. Disagreement over where to build the new library and how to pay for its upkeep meant that the new Carnegie Library ended up as Morecambe’s loss and Kendal’s gain, and that the £400 would be spent on the Clock Tower instead. The Clock Tower was built in brick and sandstone to a design by Charles Cressey. Cressey was also responsible for what has been until only recently Barclays Bank on Euston Road. At one time this was Martins Bank and before that the Bank of Liverpool (the bank sports a fine Liver Bird over its door).
A few years ago, Cressey’s granddaughter Pamela Cressey visited Morecambe to see both buildings. Cressey had married Morecambe girl Alice Livesey and then emigrated to the USA in 1908. There he had designed ships, offices and San Diego High School.