Building Name

Whitehead Clock Tower Manchester Road and Knowsley Street, Bury

Manchester Road
GMCA, England
Henry Whitehead
New Build
Grade II

Eclectic mainly neo‑medieval style clock. Portland stone on stepped plinth of Aberdeen granite. Square in plan. Belfry without bells crowned by copper ogee roof, rises within squat corner pinnacles. One stage lower, below inward‑curving cornice, are clock faces. Lower still are various niches and opening with carved decoration.

The idea of erecting a large clock tower in the centre of Bury originated with Henry Whitehead who wished to provide a suitable memorial for his recently deceased brother, Walter Whitehead (1840‑1913). Henry Whitehead, who had already been responsible for providing the Kay Memorial, approached the council with the plan to erect a large public clock. The site agreed upon was a triangular‑shaped piece of land between Knowsley Street and Manchester Road, land which had once been occupied by a private lunatic asylum. The architects Maxwell and Tuke, who had long connections with Bury, were responsible for designing the clock tower, in a style which they classified as 'Old English of the late Tudor period.' By the New Year the contractors, F. M. and H. Nuttall of Whitefield, were preparing the foundations. There were few delays and by the early summer the Shropshire clockmakers, J. B. Joyce were installing the clock. The Whitehead memorial clock tower and gardens were opened by Sir Frederick Treves in June 1914. In a tribute, which must have found special approval among his audience, Treves summed Whitehead up as 'a Lancastrian among surgeons.' The clock immediately became a landmark in the town though as the first visitors came to admire the town's new tower and gardens, the reports of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo offered an alternative topic of conversation. The tower has an internal staircase which provides access to the clock and bell tower. The clock was supplied by J.B. Joyce of Whitchurch, Shropshire who still continue to maintain it... The bell tower never had a bell. The tower was opened by Sir Frederick Treves in 1914.

Reference    Manchester Courier 19 June 1914 (Photograph of the tower nearing completion)
Reference    Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project