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Bell Tower, The

The Bell Tower, Lothian Road
©2019 Gazetteer for Scotland

The Bell Tower, Lothian Road

Situated in Festival Square on Lothian Road (Edinburgh), the Bell Tower takes the form of a plain square campanile. It is an unusual chiming clock, with a face on each side below the bells, and was presented to the City of Edinburgh in 1962 by Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd, the noted Perth-based whisky distillers and blenders. The Bell Tower was designed by T.W. Alexander of West Linton and built by Stewart McGlashen & Co. of Canonmills.

Originally sited outside the Usher Hall on the opposite side of Lothian Road, the clock proved unpopular with concert-goers because its hourly bell and four quarter-hour chimes could be clearly heard over the music. The clock was silenced in 2002 when a mechanical fault caused the chimes to fall out of synchronisation with the clock faces. In 2010, a 300-ton crane was used to move the clock across the road in one piece. It was subsequently repaired with new clock faces and a refurbished mechanism that allows the chimes to be temporarily disconnected on demand.

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