The Clock Tower
The clock tower is the closest structure to the land mine explosion to survive. Although it was not unscathed, it did remain intact
This part of the clock tower, facing the point at which the land mine fell, shows signs of repaired damage and smaller unrepaired chips that I have always assumed to have been caused by the detonation. There are a small number of similar repairs elsewhere on the stone work but not with the same local proliferation
It is well known that the clock tower received a new summit in 1974 due to the original’s removal after the explosion. What was not quite so easily discovered is the actual damage the top sustained. A well-known photograph in the possession of the Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society shows the top intact whilst debris is being cleared. (See also Photograph 1)
One published account by an eye-witness stated that the top was seen to move and looked unstable, whilst another claimed that this was an illusion caused by passing clouds. It is unlikely though that part of such an iconic feature of Kenilworth would have been removed without good reason.
There have been several published versions of what happpend next, but the most plausible I have read was by a Kenilworth volunteer fireman. He said that the top was removed by swinging the Kenilworth brigade’s escape ladder against it until it crashed to the ground. Unfortunately, the escape ladder toppled over as well and was damaged beyond repair. This seems to be corroborated by the Council minutes that record at their next meeting that the escape ladder has been “damaged”.
The full history of the clock tower and its post-war renovation, its benefactor and architect, can be found in my book Kenilworth People and Places, Volume 1