The Alice Clock

A clock in a public place, is it sculpture, art or just a functional time piece?

I will let you decide.

The Alice Clock is located on the piazza at Fountain Centre, in Belfast. It sits over a set of outdoor escalators, which take you up above street level. The chimes can be observed dangling from the ceiling.  On this level you can find a cluster of shop fronts that are now home to a hairdressers, beauty salon, a wedding dress/cocktail frock shop, a coffee shop and a small gallery exhibition space.

Otto Buer, a family business in Lubeck Germany, was commissioned to design the quaint clock over 10 years ago, to celebrate the millennium.
Described as a Glockenspiel, with 24 bronze bells and two sets of figures moving around three clock faces to various melodies. The figures – a millennium set featuring King David, John the Baptist, Joseph & Mary and a set of ten characters from Alice in Wonderland – were expertly carved and painted in Germany.

The bronze bells play various different tunes on the hour.
Etched on the panelled glass on the piazza level that surrounds the escalators, is a  narrative to give the viewer an indication of the clocks meaning.

It vanished quite slowly beginning with the end of its tail and ending with the grin.
“Well I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, thought Alice; but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”

“Oh dear! I shall be too late!” & `Off with her head!

Surrounded by a spacious terrace with benches where you can sit and listen to the clock bonging away.  Ideal for those sunshiny moments which sometimes take you by surprise in Belfast, to people watch on the pedestrian area below.

There is another surprise, but I will keep it until next week….

11 thoughts on “The Alice Clock

  1. Grannymar Post author

    Gigi – These clocks are unusual here. I have come across a few in England and on the European Mainland.

    Tilly – I think it is sculpture, art and function.

    Kenju – I went up that escalator looking for something else and found the clock. I had heard the bells before from the street below, but didn’t know where they came from.

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – Unfortunately I was not there on the hour, but I will make sure to be on another occasion.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Speccy – It is a little oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of busyness below.

    WWW – Growing up, I had the romantic dream of living in a village with a clock tower chiming the quarters as well as the hours.

    Debra – Try clicking the link for bronze bells above for a little video I found of the clock in action.

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