As the clocks change we thought we’d spend an hour looking into the origin story of the clock tower at Salisbury General Infirmary in Fisherton Street.
In 1822 the land was sold to the Infirmary. This was the site of the old county gaol that had been condemned in 1807. Present day the clock tower includes a plaque with the dates of the gaol history. You can also see in the stonework manacles and chains in the design symbolic of the site’s history. The Infirmary paid £1750 for gaol land.
1855 and The Infirmary refused a purchase proposal from the County Police to build a new police station on the site.
By 1892 The Town Council purchased the 20 square foot site for the nominal sum of £5 for the site to erect the clock tower.
On 11th May 1892 advertisements were placed advertising for application to design an ‘Illuminated Clock Tower’ the winner receiving £20. It stipulated the overall construction of the tower (not including the clock) must not exceed £400.
The tower was erected in memory of Arabella, the wife of Dr John Roberts who was consulting physician at the Infirmary from 1874.
It is thanks to the Clock Tower that we have so many images of Salisbury Infirmary in our archives. The view has become one of the iconic street scenes of Salisbury and is reproduced numerous times in photographs and postcards as seen below.