SEAMS News Archives

The Old Clock Tower and Bell by John Peters

From British History Online: `The town commissioners’ first met at the Nelson inn in South Street, and after 1812 at the Royal George in Market Street.

A site for a town hall, at the junction of Chapel Road with South and Warwick streets was given to the town in 1825 by Sir Timothy Shelley of Castle Goring, a commissioner, and the father of the poet The building, of two storeys in classical style, with a portico and clock tower at the southern end, was opened in 1835.

New offices for the local board were built in Liverpool Road in 1887; the corporation met there until at least 1910, but by 1914 it met in the town hall. In the 1920s the municipal offices were in houses in Chapel Road; a new town hall, of pink brick and stone in classical style, was built on the site of two of them to the design of C. Cowles Voysey and opened in 1933.

The clock-tower of the old town hall was removed in 1950, and the rest of the building demolished in 1966. The bell from the clock-tower had been placed in the Guildbourne centre nearby in 1974.” 1950 image, credit Alf Regis.

In 1950 the old town hall’s clock tower was found to be structurally unsafe and the bells were prevented from ringing, so that further deterioration of the structure would not occur.

The clock tower’s removal signalled the old town hall’s end. The inside had fallen into disrepair by the 1960s and the rest of the structure was demolished in 1966 – somehow the bell survived, and we are proud to say that the Guildbourne Centre are restoring, and the bell will be part of the heritage trail by Worthing & Adur Town Crier.