Time’s up for the Portrush clock

Clock owner Barry Torrens.
Clock owner Barry Torrens.

The owner of the tallest free-standing grandfather clock in the world has reluctantly put the historic timepiece up for sale - because a suitable home cannot be found for it on the North Coast.

Businessman Barry Torrens expressed deep disappointment that the clock - which was made in 1892 by the renowned clock-maker Sharman D. Neill, Belfast and erected at Portrush railway station in 1892 when Queen Victoria was monarch - could not be kept in the borough.

The grandfather clock was sited in Barry's Amusements in Portrush until February of this year.

The grandfather clock was sited in Barry's Amusements in Portrush until February of this year.

The 5.5-metre high clock was moved from the entrance of Barry’s Amusements in February where it had been sited and there followed initially positive discussions with Causeway Coast and Glens Council and Portrush Heritage Group about finding a suitable new location for the clock.

Barry told The Coleraine Times: “It has always been my wish that the clock be sited in Portrush, if not, the North Coast; however, it appears that either there is nowhere suitable for the clock locally or there is no desire to have this clock sited here.

“I have therefore put this, locally significant, piece up for sale so that it can be displayed and enjoyed elsewhere.”

The clock stood on the Portrush station platform from 1892 until the early 1970s and after that it was put into storage - some say that it was used as a climbing frame for chimpanzees at the old Causeway Safari Park.

It was later found in a local salvage yard by an international antiques dealer who purchased it.

He was in the process of shipping the clock to a buyer in the United States when Barry stepped in, following a Coleraine Times campaign by the then Editor David Rankin, to halt the sale of this important piece of local history to a foreign buyer.

Barry purchased the clock on the condition it would go on public display, be in working order and preferably remain in Portrush.

However now Barry says he will not permit this significant piece of local history to remain in dark storage.

Offers over £27,500 will now be taken for the clock which can be viewed in the Portrush offices of Fletcher Torrens estate agents.