Landmark Cardiff city centre clock tower back on time again

A four-faced clock which kept the time and chimed each hour in Cardiff city centre for more than 100 years has been restored to its former glory after falling into disrepair in recent years.

The £380,000 refurbishment of the historic clock tower at Hodge House in St Mary Street has restored the  clock and its bell to full working order.

It is the latest stage in a £17 million refurbishment by owner Legal & General to bring the 110,000 sq ft, eight-storey Hodge House office building into the 21st century.

Stride Treglown are architects, interiors designers, building surveyors and planning consultants on the project. Project lead Toni Riddiford said: “The works comprised restoration of the clock dials and mechanism, reinstatement of the bell, structural repairs, cleaning of stonework and roof repairs.”

Helen Bartlett, managing director at Paramount, main contractor of the refurbishment at Hodge House, said: “The clock and its four faces were removed and sent to their original manufacturer – Smith of Derby – to overhaul the mechanism, restore and repaint the surface faces and regild the gold features. The white glass infill elements were also replaced.

“The 780mm tall bell was also removed for restoration and has now been replaced on a new metal structure for greater stability. The four face clock has been out of action for at least five years, frozen at 10 past 7, but is now once again a prominent public timekeeper and city wayfinder.“

Simon Wilkes, head of development at Legal & General, said: “We knew from social media that there was a lot of local interest in the ‘clocks of Cardiff’ and, given the quality and extent of the refurbishment,  it seemed wrong not to give the clock and the clock tower the same level of refurbishment.”

The 32 week programme of works on the clock tower involved five separate crane lifts using the largest mobile tower crane in the world in order to reach up and over the building.  St Mary Street had to be closed on each occasion.

The building’s £17 million refurbishment has included the reception, atrium and common areas, and provides occupiers with a range of full fitted suites from 3,500 sq ft in addition to the large flexible floor plates in the heart of the city centre. It has attracted a stream of new tenants, including Ogi, Intelligent Ultrasound, Currencycloud, Bute Energy and Harrison Clark Rickerby.

Lettings at Hodge House are being managed by property consultancy Knight Frank and Fletcher Morgan.

Hodge House was constructed in 1915 for the Co-operative Wholesale Society on a prominent St Mary Street plot that was previously the site of the Old Town Hall. The building was originally divided into a range of retail departments, joint packing warehouse and a meat smokehouse.

Following extensions, war damage repairs and the addition of two mansard storeys, it eventually became the headquarters of its namesake – Julian Hodge Bank. More recently it housed the Slaters Menswear retail store before the upper floors were converted completely to office accommodation.