life + learning banner

Clock Tower Restoration


Local History, Old Post Office, History + Heritage

  • View from the old clock
    View from the old clock
  • Working on the old clock tower
    Working on the old clock tower
  • Achim Klaas and the original metalwork
    Achim Klaas and the original metalwork
  • The old clockworks
    The old clockworks
  • The clock tower during restoration
    The clock tower during restoration
  • The Grand River from the Old Post Office
    The Grand River from the Old Post Office

Rebecca Soares, Conestoga College Print Journalism Student | May 22, 2018

History is all around us. Whether it’s a political movement that has affected how our lives are today or a long-standing structure, there’s a bit of history everywhere we turn. It’s important to remember the past and even preserve it, if we can.

This is what Idea Exchange is trying to accomplish in the Old Post Office. In the tower of the Old Post Office, there is a clock that was built by J. Smith & Sons in Derby, England in 1915. Similar to the clock at Historic City Hall in Cambridge, it’s a tower clock with four faces.

The clock faces were disassembled (after being carefully marked and identified) and moved to Klaas Design for restoration. Achim Klaas, owner of Klaas Design, carefully examined the glass by holding it up to the light, revealing the cracks that appeared over time. There was enough of the original glass to make one complete clock face, the rest are replacement glass but the difference between the original and the replacements are not noticeable.

Additionally, after 100 years the metalwork was in excellent condition but the colours had faded. The original metalwork would have been gold and black, the colours were mocked up in the studio before the final painting. Once painted, the clocks were ready to be reinstalled.

The clock tower is currently ready for final finishing, which will include a glass floor so visitors can view the clock from below. In the daylight, the clock faces glow from the natural light entering the building. At night, they will be illuminated with hanging lights in the clock tower, a glowing heritage landmark in the city.

While not everything is the exact way it was 100 years ago, history has been preserved where it could be, mixing a bit of heritage and the future.