The Clock Tower, formerly the general offices of the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- Park Road, Bestwood Village, Nottingham, NG6 8TQ
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- Statutory Address:
- Park Road, Bestwood Village, Nottingham, NG6 8TQ
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Gedling (District Authority)
- Bestwood Village
- National Grid Reference:
Offices, built between 1873 and 1876 to the designs of Thomas Worthington for the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company.
Reasons for Designation
The Clock Tower, designed by Thomas Worthington and built between 1873 and 1876 as the general offices for the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company is listed at Grade II for the following reasons:
* it survives well as a little altered example of purpose built general offices in an industrial setting; * as a well-designed and well-proportioned example of the Italian gothic revival style with good quality detailing; * as an example of the work of the noted architect Thomas Worthington.
* as one of the original buildings in the formation of Bestwood Village, purpose built by the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company to accommodate its workers; * as a surviving element of the coal and iron industry in the region.
* for its spatial and functional relationship with the surviving colliery infrastructure, particularly the scheduled and Grade II* listed winding house and headstocks and workers houses, as well as the Grade II listed war memorial.
The Clock Tower was commissioned in 1873 as the general offices for the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company (BCIC). The company is understood to have been established by local industrialist, John Lancaster in 1872 and a colliery pit was sunk at Bestwood between 1873 and 1876 on land leased from the 10th Duke of St Albans. The BCIC purchased 50 acres of land from the Duke and established the industrial settlement of Bestwood Village a short distance from the colliery to accommodate its workforce. Thomas Worthington, was commissioned to design the company’s general offices, as well 20 workers’ cottages and 8 foremen’s houses.
Thomas Worthington (1826-1909) was a Manchester born architect whose practice was primarily focused in the north of England. Much of his work was influenced by the Italian Gothic style and prior to his appointment by the BCIC, he had completed several prestigious commissions in Manchester including the Memorial to Prince Albert (1862-1865), listed Grade I and the City Police Courts, (1868-1871), listed Grade II*. He was also active in promoting the improvement of housing conditions for the working classes, publishing papers and lecturing on housing reform from the 1860s.
The Clock Tower was built by the contractors, J E Hall of Nottingham and first occupied in 1876. Bestwood Iron Works was opened to the west of the colliery in 1881 and remained in use until 1928. The colliery was nationalised in 1947 and was closed in 1967, though its winding house and headstocks remain in place and are scheduled and listed Grade II*.The Clock Tower remained the offices of the National Coal Board until 1985. After a period of vacancy, the building resumed its use as private offices in 2004.
Offices, built between 1873 and 1876 to the design of Thomas Worthington for the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company.
MATERIALS: the building is constructed from red bricks, from the BCIC's own brickworks, laid in English bond, with banded courses of ashlar and stone detailing. The roof is covered with slate and has scalloped terracotta ridge tiles.
PLAN: the offices are located approximately 0.5km north-west of the colliery winding engine house (scheduled and listed Grade II*) on the south side of Park Road. The building is aligned roughly east to west. The plan is composed of a rectangular main range with projecting bays to the north and west.
EXTERIOR: the building is set over two storeys with a four stage clock tower. It is constructed in a Gothic Revival style with its entrance elevation facing west and it most formal elevation facing south. Windows are generally one-over-one timber sashes with continuous stone banding connecting heads and sills.
The main entrance is through a projecting, two-storey, gabled porch with a four-centred opening leading to a recessed doorway with modern double-doors beneath a large toplight with glazing bars, and a blocked doorway with inserted window aperture. There is a pair of windows within the porch gable above.
The tower adjoins the porch on its south side. It is square on plan with a pyramidal roof. Its upper storey has a dentil eaves course and on each side is a pair of unglazed arched openings sharing a central, coupled stone column and drip mould. There are two clock faces positioned about three-quarters of the way up the tower facing north and south, and slit windows to the east and west faces. On the north side of the tower is a niche containing a carved shield bearing the intertwined initials of the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company. To the ground floor of the south side is a large arched door opening, now blocked, and there are single storey pier buttresses to the corners of the tower.
The south elevation has five flush bays beneath a row of coped gables. The three central bays have paired windows, with groups of three windows to the two outer bays. On the north side of the building, there are three projecting gabled bays, and an adjoining single-storey, flat–roofed range. Windows are grouped irregularly, with three, stepped windows at ground floor level indicating the position of the internal staircase. End gables have central slit windows. There are external chimney stacks to the east and west elevations, and multiple roof stacks, all with stone banding.
INTERIOR: Not inspected. The main entrance leads to a central corridor which runs east to west through the building with offices opening off either side. The corridor appears to retain moulded cornicing, skirting and door architraves, and there is a large internal window divided by a central mullion and transoms between the corridor and northernmost office. The main staircase rises from the east end of the corridor and has carved octagonal newel posts with finials, and a solid balustrade.
On first floor the main stairwell is enclosed with glazed partitioning incorporating mullions and transoms and the first floor landing appears to retain decorative corbelling and moulded door architraves. There are modern fire doors throughout. Original doors, where they survive, are four panelled.
Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History - John Lancaster, accessed Accessed 2 June 2020 from https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/John_Lancaster_%281815-1884%29
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – Worthington Family (1849-1963), accessed Accessed 2 June 2020 from https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/65161
UK Mining remains – Bestwood Colliery, accessed Accessed 2 June 2020 from http://www.ukminingremains.co.uk/bestwood-colliery/4545305785
Bestwood Coal and Iron Company Director Meeting Minutes - Nottinghamshire Archives
Pidduck, J, ‘The Clock Tower Building (formerly the General Offices of the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company) ’ Unpublished report (2019), Nottingham Trent University
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing