The Belfry and Tower Clock

When the church was dedicated in 1866, it did not have the Tower Clock, but just the steeple housing the ‘Call to Worship’ pulley Bell. Military barracks and offices which were around the church needed a clock tower bell to keep time, and the tower in St. Andrew’s Church was chosen because of its height. The additional tower was constructed to house the new clock and the terrace to be used as a guard post.

A Three Train Turret Clock Movement Manufactured by M/s. Gillette & Johnson (Cryodon) Ltd., of the United Kingdom, was installed in 1892. This clock was a precision timepiece with a clock face on all four sides of the tower. Central mechanism with a pendulum in the middle with four rods from the bevel gears to each face. Clock uses the pulley weights system. Chiming bells were stationed in a room above the clock mechanism. With this installation, chimes of this clock, every quarter could be heard miles away.

It worked for decades with minor repairs. Over time parts of the clock needed replacement and in 1989 Tower Clock was repaired and put back in action with a special rededication worship service. The Clock was repaired at Madras by M/s. P. Orr & Sons. It is in excellent working condition ever since with periodic maintenance.

In 2005, the clock tower developed a tilt after heavy rains during monsoon months. Many structural engineers had deemed the clock tower to be unsafe and suggested it be brought down. A church renovation implementation committee was constituted under the Bishop, and advice was taken from the professors of structural engineering from the Indian Institute of Science. Restoration work was undertaken, and completed just in time for the church to celebrate its 142 years on 26 November 2006. The Indian Institute of Science team suggested three wells around the tower, which will indicate water, which can be drained out immediately. Tower has stood tall and we pray that it stands as a testimony for many years to come.

You can reach the Presbyter of St. Andrew’s Church for prayer.