Iconic British-era clock at Mumbai's Crawford Market to start ticking again soon

Dec 06, 2017, 08:15 IST | Laxman Singh

Nashik company will install an automated mechanism in the clock at Crawford Market that has been silent since the 1990s

Crawford Market's iconic clock will start ticking again in the next few months. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to restore the British-era timepiece, which has been non-functional for decades now. It has finalised a Nashik company for the work - the old key system machine of the four clocks will be replaced with a battery-powered mechanism, as it's difficult to maintain the former.

The British-era timepiece will soon have a battery-powered mechanism. File pic
The British-era timepiece will soon have a battery-powered mechanism. File pic

Last year, the BMC had appointed conservation architect Abha Lambah, who completed the first phase of restoration of the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (Crawford) Market clock tower. The civic body has planned the restoration of the 148-year-old Grade I heritage structure in three phases, to be completed by 2019. According to civic officials, the clock hasn't been working since the 90s.

A senior official from the Building Maintenance department, who is looking after the restoration project, said, "We have finalised a Nashik firm to get all four clocks operational, the proposal for which has been sent to higher authorities. Once it's sanctioned, we will start the work. New dials for the clock will be bought, and soon, it will work again, like a normal wristwatch."

Key under lock
According to officials, this is the same firm that restored the clock in Rajabai Towers recently. The civic body is going to spend around Rs 13 lakh on the work. Currently, only of the four clocks has all its parts intact. In another, the dial is present but arrows are missing, while in the remaining two, there's nothing. A few important parts of the key system were stolen years ago.

Work on all four clocks is expected to be completed by January 2019. File pic
Work on all four clocks is expected to be completed by January 2019. File pic

An official said, "Earlier, it functioned on a key system, for which there was a designated person, who had to keep it ticking. We had spoken to the relevant officials in England in order to get the same mechanism, but we weren't successful." The assistant engineer of the Building Maintenance (BM) department, Nishikant Kulkarni, said, "A battery system will get all the four clocks working, by January 2019. But the bell that was a part of the clock tower won't be operational, as it is very difficult to make arrangements for it."

Officialspeak
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Sangeeta Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner of Markets department, said, "I have been told by officials that the restoration is in progress, and the BM department is overseeing it." The BMC last year had managed to restore the clock tower after shifting out 160-odd shops from the market. Despite repeated messages and mails, Lambah remained unavailable for comment on the development.

1870
The year the clock was installed

Rs 13 lakh
Amount BMC will spend to fix the four clocks

Rs 13 lakh
The amount the civic body will spend on the work

Did you know?
The market was named after the first municipal commissioner of Mumbai, Arthur Crawford

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