: @asiansnax – Stevenage Clock Tower (November 2018)
Day 27: ‘Local Historian’ of #TheJanuaryChallenge #64MillionArtists ‘It’s Sunday! A good day to put on your explorer hat… Find out the story behind a local landmark or building and share in a creative way. Choose the first thing that comes to your mind – find out who built it, why it’s there, how old it is and any interesting facts you can!’ Stevenage was the first New Town to be designated as such, in 1946, and housebuilding began in 1949; its new town centre (1957-9) included the first pedestrian-only shopping area in England.
In 1959, Her Majesty the Queen named the main shopping area ‘Queensway’, and this visit was commemorated with the unveiling of a panel on the clock tower.
An openwork concrete clock tower designed by Leonard Vincent, one of the planners of the town centre, forms the focal point of the Town Square. Its frame, which rises from a rectangular pool lined with tiles in primary colours, is clad in black granite and encloses two cubes; the upper cube bears clock faces and a bell compartment, which is illuminated at night. The lower cube carries inscriptions and reliefs, one with a backing of Carter’s cream textured tiles, and on its east face a Carter’s painted tile panel, about five feet square; this shows a contour map of the area (in black lines on grey ground) on which information logos are dotted about. These are mostly black on white but a few, for instance the bus station, are in red. There are also Carter’s pattern-making tiles in black, grey, yellow and white, in three different designs, on the undersides of both cubes and the roof of the tower. On the western face is a bronze relief, by Fanta Belsky, of Lewis Silkin, Minister of Town & Country Planning, who championed the development Two sides of the lower cubes display inscriptions. One inscription commemorates the role of the Stevenage Development Corporation in the development of Stevenage New Town. The second inscription commemorates the visit of the Queen to Stevenage on 20th April 1959. The clock tower has become an iconic image of Stevenage