Lucknow misses melodious chimes as iconic GPO clock goes silent | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Lucknow misses melodious chimes as iconic GPO clock goes silent

Lucknow’s historians say that since the GPO and its clock have great historical significance, officials should take extra efforts for its upkeep

lucknow Updated: May 28, 2017 13:30 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Officials are trying to contact a man from Barabanki who knows about the maintenance of the clock.
Officials are trying to contact a man from Barabanki who knows about the maintenance of the clock.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Notwithstanding the diminishing dependence on clocks and watches courtesy gadgets, Lucknow is missing the hourly chimes of the iconic General Post Office’s (GPO) clock.

Often touted as Lucknow’s pride, the GPO clock chimes are no longer audible. And the silence is ‘killing’, insists those who reside in the central part of Lucknow.

“Areas around Hazratganj are used to a few distinctive sounds, including the lion’s roar, which is clearly audible from the zoo during early morning hours and the GPO clock tower chimes,” says Rajiv Shukla, a senior citizen and a regular morning walker. Some things become a part of your life. The clock tower’s hourly chimes, which we have been hearing since childhood, have gone silent. We feel something is missing in our life,” says Shukla.

Highlights
  • GPO building is among the few structures that were made with red bricks and lime stone in pure gothic architectural style.
  • The triangular shaped garden and four-faced clock tower used to be the key features of the building that once called ‘Ring Theatre’.
  • The building was used by the British families for organising cultural events, screening movies, holding parties and other recreational purposes.
  • the building was also famous due to the ‘Kakori train tragedy’ trial as it was here where the special court was set up.
  • It was later in 1929-1932, the then GPO housed inside the Begum Kothi (now known as Janpath) was shifted to this building.

A concerned citizen, he also tried to find out the reason behind this silence, but got no satisfactory answers from the authorities concerned. “I haven’t heard the chimes for the past two months or even more,” he adds.

Other walkers who are also frequent visitors to GPO during morning hours, said, “The clock’s chimes used to be ear-soothing reminders for us to get over our morning walk. But now there is no chiming, and the clock’s time is also not accurate, hence we have started wearing our watches,” says Sudha Shankar Mishra, another morning walker.

Other citizens too say that it’s been more than two months since they last heard the chimes. “Being a heritage tower, it’s the responsibility of the department concerned to ensure proper maintenance of the clock tower. If it’s not taken care of, this clock tower will also go into oblivion like others,” laments another senior citizen.

Some who work at GPO too are missing the sound of chimes. “I remember hearing the chimes at Kalidas Marg, which is quite far from the post office. It also used to be a reminder of duty timings. We are missing it too,” says a clerk with GPO.

Lucknow’s historians say that since the GPO and its clock have great historical significance, officials concerned should take extra efforts for its upkeep. GPO building is among the few structures that were made with red bricks and lime stone in pure gothic architectural style. The triangular shaped garden and four-faced clock tower used to be the key features of the building that once called ‘Ring Theatre’.

“The building was used by the British families for organising cultural events, screening movies, holding parties and other recreational purposes,” says Yogesh Praveen, a noted historian who has penned several books on heritage structures in the state capital.

Praveen says the building was also famous due to the ‘Kakori train tragedy’ trial as it was here where the special court was set up. “It was later in 1929-1932, the then GPO housed inside the Begum Kothi (now known as Janpath) was shifted to this building,” he added.

GPO authorities say the GPO building recently underwent restoration. “We weren’t informed that the clock was not chiming. There are possibilities that the chiming may have stopped after the recent dust storm in the city,” says RK Prasad, chief post master (CPM), GPO. Prasad says a person from Barabanki ensures the maintenance of the clock. “We will try to contact him to get the chimes functional again,” he adds.