The striking clock tower was built in 1855 by James Bunstone Bunnings, and was orginally the centrepiece of a new cattle market developed by the City of London Corporation to replace Smithfields as the livestock market for London.
Islington Council, supported with a grant of almost £2million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, has fully restored and repaired the historic 19th century clock tower and part of the original market railings.
In addition a brand new heritage centre, the Cally Clock Tower Centre, park cafe and public toilets have been built. The conservation work has significantly improved access to the Grade II*-listed tower and for the first time in its history will open regularly to the public for free.
The heritage centre will provide facilities to run educational activities and voluntary and community groups will be able to use the centre for meetings and small events.
To mark the opening of the restored clock tower and heritage centre Islington is hosting a launch day on Saturday 8 June for the public to come and learn about the history of the site and experience views from the clock tower. Tours up the tower will start from 11am and run throughout the day. Due to high levels of interest, tours need to be booked in advance here.
The Mayor of Islington will officially open the clock tower and heritage centre at 12pm, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Historical performances will be shown across the day by re-enactment company Past Pleasures. Sporting activities and exciting nature classes are all on offer for visitors during the day.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council's Executive Member for Environment & Transport said: “The opening of the restored tower will be a special day for Islington and London, whilst also providing a fantastic opportunity to fully explore the architectural, historical and cultural fabric of Caledonian Park.
We want to encourage as many people as possible to share in our excitement and join us on the 8 June for a day of inspiration, with free tours and performances that reenact the past and celebrates our rich history.”
“I am deeply proud of Islington’s achievement; the high quality redevelopment works providing a restored Caledonian Clock Tower, new community facilities and a heritage centre look amazing and will inspire for generations to come. There are many ways to get involved, the initiative really does have something to offer everyone of all backgrounds and ages.”
Stuart Hobley, Area Director for London & South, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, Caledonian Clock Tower has been restored and its fascinating heritage made available for everyone to enjoy for free for the first time. We’re delighted to see the project reach such an exciting milestone.”
As part of its ongoing investment in high-quality parks, open spaces and the clock tower, Islington Council has committed to fund the project for the next 20 years.
Please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/opening-event-clock-tower-tours-tickets-62004124004 to book a tower tour at the launch. Slots are available for other weekends and tour days.