After 13 years’ hiatus, 81-yr-old British clocks start ticking again in Amritsar

  • Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jan 10, 2015 08:40 IST

After remaining nonfunctional for almost 13 years, 81-year-old British bell clocks at Khalsa College got a new lease of life with the college authorities finally coming to its rescue.

These clocks, in return, have once again revived the traditional tenor of this heritage city and residents living in the radius of 2.5-3 km of the college are again enjoying the ringing of the bell after every hour.

These clocks — installed in a 50-foot-high dome of Khalsa College heritage building in 1934 — were manufactured and shipped by a London-based watch manufacturer Benice Watch Company, claimed principal Mehal Singh.

The bell clocks had served two important purposes — first, it indicated the change of periods after every hour to the students; and second, it was installed 50-foot above the ground so that passers-by could see the time.

Revival of the clocks wasn’t an easy task, said Dharminder Singh Rataul, under secretary-cum-deputy director, public relations, Khalsa College Governing Council.

“The company which had manufactured the clocks claimed that there would not be inaccuracy of even a second for 100 years unless there was a major fault. Everything was fine until 1960’s when an earthquake damaged the pendulum and some spare parts of the clock. Despite the damage, the college authorities somehow managed to keep the clock ticking, but it was in 2011, when the clocks finally came to a halt,” recounted Rataul.

The clocks remained nonfunctional for almost 13 years, but the principal took an initiative and got it repaired. “I was determined to get the clocks ticking again. I approached a local senior mechanic-cum-electrician, who told me that the spare parts that the clock needed would only be available at some Christian heritage place. And after a long search, we got the spare parts from Pune and revived the clocks,” said the principal.

Talking about the maintenance of the clocks, the principal said: “The clocks will be cleaned and oiled for smooth functioning every week. And, to keep these ticking, we will wind the clocks at regular intervals.”

The principal said: “The college has two more antique clocks (both solar), but they aren’t functioning. We are looking forward to revive them too.”

Speaking about a feature of the clocks, the principal said: “If its 1o’clock, the bell will ring once. And, if its 4o’clock, it will rings four times. But the ringing of the bell has been fixed to maximum five times, as the ringing can become disturbing.”

“There was a time when half of the city could hear the bell, but now only the residents living in the radius of 2.53 km of the college can hear the bell,” the principal added.

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