Getting an iconic clock tower back in tick-tock shape

  • Nation
  • Friday, 18 May 2012

KOTA KINABALU: Repairs and restoration works have begun on the city’s iconic century-old Atkinson Clock Tower.

The Sabah Museum, which is responsible for the 16m-tall clock tower, recently engaged a contractor to examine and fix the mostly timber structure as well as maintain clock mechanism.

Preliminary works on the illumination of the clock’s double faces were completed while repairs on the structure wall and the clock mechanism are ongoing.

“It’s time to give the clock tower a facelift in terms of repairs and a new coat of paint besides changing some of the gears and cogs that have been slowing down its timing,” said Sabah Museum director Joanna Kitingan.

In welcoming the museum’s decision, local architectural heritage advocate Richard Nelson Sokial said it was astonishing that the clock tower was still working after 107 years.

“As the oldest city landmark since 1905, it’s a heritage of Kota Kinabalu. It deserves respect and protection,” he said, adding that he hoped that the repair works would maintain the current facade of the clock tower.

The Atkinson Clock Tower, with a history that goes back to the esta­blishment of early Kota Kinabalu (then known as Jesselton) in 1899, has been renovated several times over the past years to improve its appearance and upkeep.

The clock tower, built in remembrance of the late Francis George Atkinson, Jesselton’s first district officer who died of malaria or Borneo Fever at 28, even survived the World War II.

The clock tower is protected under the state’s Cultural Heritage (Pre­serva­­tion) Enactment 1997 and its Antiquities and Treasure Trove Enactment 1977. The historical site was gazetted in 1983.

Last year, city folk and various NGOs had opposed a proposed hotel and shopping centre project next to the tower, saying that these would completely overshadow the historical structure.

The project has since been shelved.

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