Machynlleth Town Clock

link_to_french_translationbutton_lang_welshMachynlleth Town Clock

This clock is a landmark in the centre of Machynlleth. It was built by the residents of Machynlleth to celebrate the coming of age of the eldest son of the Fifth Marquess of Londonderry, who lived at Y Plas. Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest (Viscount Castlereagh) turned 21 on 16 July 1873, but family bereavement put paid to the planned celebrations. A year later, on 16 July 1874, the clock’s foundation stone was laid amid general festivities.

Public subscriptions raised enough money to build the clock tower and plant trees along both sides of Pentrerhedyn and Maengwyn Streets.

A competition to design the clock tower attracted 30 to 40 entries. The winner was architect Henry Kennedy, of Bangor. His design was built by Edward Edwards, a local builder. It was made mostly of stone from Tremadog, near Porthmadog, complemented by red sandstone from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The tower stands 24 metres high, to the base of the weathervane.

In 1881 a storm shattered two of the clock’s faces and stopped the mechanism. Local residents donated money for repairs.

The clock tower became a meeting point for temperance (anti-drunkenness) campaigners. Hundreds of people gathered here in 1907 to greet General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, who paused for five minutes while on his way to Aberystwyth.

Machynlleth held a carnival to celebrate peace on a Saturday in July 1919. At the town clock, a laurel wreath and floral tributes were displayed in memory of the people who died in the First World War. On the following day, an open-air memorial service was held at the clock. Local clergy addressed the crowd, and the town's brass band played sombre music.

The clock tower’s site was previously occupied by the town hall, which the writer George Borrow visited in 1854. He chronicled his tour of Wales in a popular book, called Wild Wales. Borrow described the town hall as an “old-fashioned-looking edifice supported on pillars”, located in the middle of “a kind of market place”. He wrote: “Seeing a crowd standing round it, I asked what was the matter and was told that the magistrates were sitting in the town hall above, and that a grand poaching case was about to be tried.” Borrow recorded that the defendant was found guilty of spearing a salmon and fined £4, including costs.

With thanks to David Wyn Davies, author of 'Machynlleth Town Trail'

Postcode: SY20 8AE    View Location Map

To continue the Machynlleth in WW1 tour, walk northwards along the main road. The next location is on your left, two doors after you cross Poplar Road
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