The clock tower is alive and ticking.
The landmark clock tower that is Old Joe is a bit of a legend on the University of Birmingham campus, some might even go as far to say that he’s a big name on campus (or BNOC). And now, after 18 months of not functioning (he’s not the only one, that’s for sure), the Birmingham tower is back in action telling the time and helping prevent the locals of Selly Oak from being late to lectures and meetings.
Old Joe is said to be the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower and is named after the university’s first chancellor Joseph Chamberlain, a famous political son of the city. After being out of action since February 2020, specialist clock repairers have been working at the top of the 100-metre structure to replace the hands on the four faces.
The repair job required workers to head 100m (352ft) in the air via crane to fix the external dials as well as the internal mechanism of the clock. But now, the much-loved time keeper is back to bonging every hour on the hour.
Sine 1905, Old Joe has been a focal point at the University of Birmingham and he has quite the following on social media with over 8,000 Twitter followers. Old Joe’s glowing clock face is also believed to have been the inspiration for the Eye of Sauron in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.