History in Structure

Clock Tower in Wednesbury Market Place

A Grade II Listed Building in Wednesbury, Sandwell

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Latitude: 52.5524 / 52°33'8"N

Longitude: -2.0187 / 2°1'7"W

OS Eastings: 398831

OS Northings: 294948

OS Grid: SO988949

Mapcode National: GBR 25F.7X

Mapcode Global: VH9YM.Y3PP

Plus Code: 9C4VHX2J+XG

Entry Name: Clock Tower in Wednesbury Market Place

Listing Date: 29 September 1987

Last Amended: 9 April 2021

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1077119

English Heritage Legacy ID: 219322

ID on this website: 101077119

Location: Wednesbury, Sandwell, West Midlands, WS10

County: Sandwell

Electoral Ward/Division: Wednesbury South

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Wednesbury

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Wednesbury St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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A clock tower built in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of George V to designs by Charles William Davies Joynson (1862-1943).


A clock tower built in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of George V to designs by Charles William Davies Joynson (1862-1943).

MATERIALS: red brick and sandstone.

PLAN: the clock tower has a square base of around five by five metres.

EXTERIOR: the tower is four sided, with elevations facing north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west. The tower has a lower section of thin bricks in Flemish Bond, and a Baroque style upper section in stone. It stands on three square stone steps, the upper two of which have rounded extensions to the centres of each of their four sides.

The brick portion of the tower has a moulded stone skirting to its base. Towards its top, each face of the brick section has a single, centrally located narrow arrow-slit opening below a lintel of three vertical rubbed bricks. There is a narrow door in the south-west face of the tower. Over the door is a stone segmental pediment with a single keystone, supported by scrolled bracket corbels to either side of the door head.

A stone plaque in the north-western brick face is inscribed: ‘THIS CLOCK TOWER / was built by Public Subscription / to commemorate the CORONATION of / HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V, / and the Foundation Stone was laid / on 22nd June, 1911, by / COUNCILLOR EDWIN JAMES HUNT, J.P. / MAYOR OF WEDNESBURY. / THOS. JONES, TOWN CLERK. C.W.D. JOYNSON, ARCHITECT. SUMMERHILL & JELLYMAN builders.

The brick section is separated from the stone section by a stone cornice and frieze which runs continuously across all four faces. On each face, in the centre of the frieze is a stone shield flanked by carved foliage. The south-west and north-east facing shields bear the coat of arms of Wednesbury town; they depict two lions and the motto ‘ARTE, MARTE, VIGORE’. The north-western shield is carved with the initials ‘GR V’ (for King George V) beneath a crown, and the initial ‘M’ (for Queen Mary) beneath a crown decorates the south-eastern shield.

Above the cornice dividing brick and stone sections, a pair of Ionic columns is set diagonally to each corner. At the feet of each pair of columns is a globe shaped lamp on an iron base. Between the columns on each side of the monument is a clock face surrounded by carved festoons. A cornice with blank frieze sits on top of the columns, it projects out over the paired columns and forms the base for a dome above. The dome has a carved band separating its coffered top part from a rusticated lower portion. A finial tops the dome.


The clock tower is located in the centre of Wednesbury’s Market Place. It was paid for by a public subscription raised to celebrate the coronation of King George V. The town raised £1140 overall, £500 which was a contribution from Wednesbury Municipal Borough Council. Of this, £400 was spent on the clock tower; the balance went on festivities and to the Wednesbury Nurses’ Home.

The tower was designed by local architect Charles William Davies Joynson (1862-1943) who had been mayor of Wednesbury in 1898-1900 and was an Alderman from 1925. Joynson designed several Methodist chapels and schools, and his other notable buildings included the now demolished Wednesbury Theatre Royal and Imperial Picture House. The builders of the clock tower were Mr Jellyman and Mr Summerhill of Wednesbury.

The foundation stone was laid by the Mayor, Councillor Edwin James Hunt, at 2.30 pm on 22 June 1911 as part of a programme of coronation day events. The completed tower was dedicated by the same mayor at a ceremony on 9 November 1911.

The clock was electric, regulated by a master clock at the Town Hall.

Reasons for Listing

The clock tower in Wednesbury Market Place is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest:

*     the clock tower has been sited to be highly visible, acting as a focal point of civic pride in the town;

* the clock tower has been designed as an elegant and dignified civic monument with well executed, detailed carved masonry decoration in a Baroque style.

Historic Interest:

*     the coronation of George V was a moment of international significance which was celebrated throughout the Empire. The clock tower, which was partly paid for by public subscription, shows how that this event was important to the people of Wednesbury;

*     the clock tower has group value with the other older buildings around the market place, in particular with the Grade II listed 31 and 33 Market Place (NHLE 1287437), illustrating the multiple functions of the commercial centre of an early-C20 industrial town.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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