Albert Memorial Clock – Belfast, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura
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Belfast, Northern Ireland

Albert Memorial Clock

This massive monument has been telling the time for 150 years—at a slight angle.  

A landmark for locals—who call it the Albert Clock—is situated in Queen’s Square, close to the Lagan Weir. Like the more famous Royal Albert Hall in London, the clock was also created to memorialize Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. But today it’s probably better known for its subtle lean.

The clock, which incorporates French and Italian architectural styles, was completed in 1869. The detailed stonework included flourishes, lions, and a sculpture of Prince William. It was instantly a beautiful and ornate public landmark (that also became a meeting place for illicit activity). But unfortunately, it was built on soft, muddy ground, which meant that it wasn’t going to stay standing straight for very long.

As the heavy tower settled, it began to lean about four feet to one side, requiring the removal of some of the decorations down the years. It’s not as dramatic as the lean in Pisa, but once you notice it, it’s hard not to see. Even though it is slightly askew the clock tower is still a cherished public monument. It underwent major restoration in 2002, during which carvings were replaced and the entire tower was cleaned.

Know Before You Go

You can't actually go inside the clock, but there are guided tours that take you to see it from outside.

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