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Tunbridge Wells: Salomons Estate clock tower to undergo £100,000 restoration

A clock tower in Tunbridge Wells has undergone a six-month, £100,000 restoration.

The revamp of the landmark building, at the Salomons Estate, aimed to ensure it remains standing for future generations to admire.

Built in 1876, lack of maintenance by its previous owners had left the tower in a poor condition when current owners, the Markerstudy Group, took over the estate in July 2013.

The Salamons Estate Clock Tower
The Salamons Estate Clock Tower

Head of maintenance and property at Markerstudy, Manny Siegmund, said: "What little work that had been done to the tower previously hadn't been carried out to a particularly good standard.

"The wrong sort of brick had been used to patch various spots, but the biggest problem we came across was that sand and cement mixes had been used for patching and pointing, rather than lime mortar.

Mr Siegmund explained that, unlike sand and cement, lime mortar lets trapped moisture out, allowing the mortar to move with the building without cracking and damaging the brickwork.

While large areas of badly weathered brickwork were replaced with local Sevenoaks Gault bricks, two men carried out the time consuming task of grinding out the joint to allow for repointing.

Mr Siegmund added: "It was a painstaking piece of work that took four men six months to complete. The clock at the top of the tower was taken away and refurbished before being reinstalled.

The work on the tower has been welcomed by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, which champions the conservation and improvement of the town.

Dr Alastair Tod, of the society, said: "Having visited the tower we are impressed with the work that has been done.

"It occupies a prominent position and it is good news that the estate has acted to preserve this landmark building.

Mr Siegmund said Markerstudy is investing considerably in improving and maintaining Salomons and the work on the tower was crucial.

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