Muizenberg Station Clock, Time standing still

Muizenberg Station Clock tower. – Hi Chris – hope you’re well. Who is responsible for the maintenance of the clock tower? I keep meaning to ‘send an email’ to some ‘clock fixing department’ – but don’t know where to start. Any ideas?Sat 20:44Hey Nicci Giles, if you ever find out, let me know. I heard some ancient horologist was the only guy in the world who knew how to service the clock and he worked his magic in 2013 for the centenary of the station. Of the four clock faces two kept accurate time for a while, not long, but it was great while it lasted. Then the Muizenberg gees crept back in and they, like, you know, decided that maybe nobody in Muizenberg cared about the time, it was the tides they mostly cared about and mainly when the waves were breaking well, so all four clock faces decided they may as well go back to sleep and they did. The End.That Chris, is a true story. Sadly, the real true story is one of an incapable state-run organization. The Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society took an interest in repairing it. We secured funding, we found qualified experts who could do the job, all we needed was permission to go in, remove the clock and repair it. No charge at all to the owners. We were unable to obtain permission, not because it was ever refused, it was just never granted. Phones calls and emails were never replied to, arranged appointments with staff were not kept, when contact was made we were always talking to the wrong official, it was someone else’s responsibility and they were on leave, on a course, sick, having a baby, you name it. We tried twice in three years, and achieved nothing. At one stage our Chairman wrote to the Minister of Transport demanding his attention, a forlorn hope if ever I saw one.The actual cause of the clock’s demise is of some interest. Apparently some unethical horologist offered to service and repair all the Western Cape railway clocks, and he swapped out the old brass works and put in less well constructed modern clocks. In the case of the Muizenberg clock, which has four faces, the mechanism has to be mounted centrally in the tower and supported by a sturdy brass or bronze frame so that the hands for each clock face can work undisturbed. Our man used mild steel bars instead. It will come as no surprise to any resident of Muizenberg that the steel bars rusted through and the mechanism is now dangling from two support bars. A couple of gears need re-cutting due to wear caused by the misalignment. When repaired, if ever, it will also need annual cleaning to remove salt and grime from the grease lubricating the gears. Do not hold your breath.

Chris Taylor


Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society

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