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Built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee of 1887, the foundation stone of the clock tower was laid by Sir Arthur Otway Bart on 20th January 1888, the seventieth birthday of James Willing, who gifted it to the town. It cost £2000. The use of opal glass for the clock faces allowed illumination by gas jets at night. These switched on and off automatically. The sphere is a time-ball, designed by Magnus Volk and controlled by landline from Greenwich Observatory.
granite, Portland stone, enamel & gilt copper
commissioned by James Willing, local advertising contractor
Grade II (England and Wales)
28th June 1888
at all times
on a bronze plaque underneath the portrait of Queen Victoria: THIS CLOCK TOWER / WAS PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF BRIGHTON / IN COMMEMORATION OF THE / JUBILEE YEAR OF THE REIGN OF / HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA / BY / JAMES WILLING ESQRE. / THE MEMORIAL STONE WAS LAID BY / THE RIGHT HON. SIR ARTHUR OTWAY BART. / ON THE 20TH DAY OF JANUARY 1888 / EDWARD MARTIN. MAYOR / FRANCIS J. TILLSTONE. TOWN CLERK / JOHN JOHNSON ARCHITECT / J.T. CHAPPELL BUILDER