External work has been completed on the historic clock tower in Stonehaven’s old town - which has traditionally chimed to mark the start of the New Year.
The first phase of the restoration work on the 18th century B-listed building was completed on schedule and in time for Hogmanay and Stonehaven’s Fireball Festival which features the tower as an important focal point.
The second phase, which aims to breathe new life into the interior of the building, begins this month and will lead to the creation of an interesting and informative display that will see the public allowed inside the building for the first time. It’s expected to be completed by late spring.
Cllr Carl Nelson, chair of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee, said: “The clock tower is one of the town’s best known landmarks and it was the local community’s desire to see the building brought back to life that was the main catalyst in Aberdeenshire Council pressing forward with the project.
“Stonehaven’s historic harbour area already attracts tourists from all over the world and the clock tower renovation will only add to the historic interest and cultural attraction of the area as well as further boosting visitor numbers.”
Vice-Chair Cllr Peter Bellarby added: “Until now, the tower has only been used once a year when the bells are rung at Hogmanay but the longer term vision is that the building will be utilised all year round.
“It is also great to hear that the project is on schedule and that the next phase should be completed later in the year allowing visitors access to the tower for the first time.”
The exterior work included the complete cleaning and re-pointing of all the stonework, repair and replacement of rotten timbers, restoration of the original windows, installation of new balustrades, replacement of missing slate to the bell cote and repainting of exposed timbers, all to make the property wind and water tight.
Phase two will be focused on the interior and the creation of an interesting and informative public display. Community groups have been consulted on their views and opinions on what form this will take.