After outlasting the very church it was built for, St Augustine’s Tower continues to protect its 16th century clockworks.
Built in the 1500s as part of the restoration of an older 14th century church, the tower is the oldest building in all of historic Hackney. Unlike many church towers of the time, however, this addition was built as both a clock and bell tower. The workings of the clock that can be seen from the exterior of the tower were placed on the third floor and take up most of the space with their medieval gears and springs. The tower and its iconic clock took over the Hackney skyline and soon became the symbol for the entire area of Hackney.
After the rest of the church was demolished in the late 1700s and used for building materials, the tower was left standing, clockwork and all. The clock is still in operation despite its ancient construction. Visitors can now ascend the winding stairs to the third floor and see the inner workings of the tower, ring the bell to be heard for miles around, or even continue them all the way up to the roof where they can get a stunning view of the whole city. St Augustine’s Tower has not just stood the test of time, but told that time all along.
Know Before You Go
The Tower is open to the public on the last Sunday of each month from 2 to 4.30 p.m. Entry is free!