With Queen Victoria celebrating her diamond jubilee, Christchurch wanted to acknowledge the occasion.
A clock, that had been imported for the Canterbury Provincial Chambers in 1860 – which proved to be too heavy – was brought out of storage, along with its iron work, and a competition to design the rest of what would be called the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower was launched. It was won by Christchurch firm ‘Strouts and Ballantyne’.
In 1897, the iron work and clock were placed on their fine stonework base on the intersection of Manchester, Lichfield and High Streets. There it remained until 1930.
In 1930, the clock and tower were in need of repairs. Also, the traffic demand on Manchester Street had increased to the point that the tower was considered a road hazard. It was moved to its current location on Papanui Road and Victoria, Salisbury, Montreal Streets – a place once known as The Junction.
Unfortunately, the clock had to be replaced. The tower went under further restoration in 1978 and 2003 – including earthquake strengthening. Although very damaged due to the 22th February 2011 earthquake, it has been braced and will be repaired to its former glory (as of 2014). As an eerie reminder of Christchurch’s darkest day, the clock hasn’t worked since the 22 February, its hands frozen on the time of 12.51pm.
For a more in depth look at the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/diamond-jubilee-clock-tower/