King Edward VII - Gravesend Clock Tower - Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 26.498 E 000° 22.387
31U E 317442 N 5702211
Quick Description: This clock tower, that has four clock faces, stands at the junction of Milton Road and Harmer Street on a traffic island. The tower was constructed to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee with King Edward VII being added later.
Location: South East England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/1/2013 10:45:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMH09C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member The Blue Quasar
Views: 4

Long Description:

The medallion showing the right, facial profile of King Edward VII is on the north side of the clock tower. Beneath the medallion is an inscribed stone that reads:

This medallion to the memory of
King Edward the Seventh
was presented to the Borough
by the Mayor of Gravesend
Alderman H.E. Davis, J.P.C.C.
and unveiled by him on the
20th October 1912

The Brit Royals website tells us about the King:

"Name: King Edward VII
Full Name: Albert Edward
Born: November 9, 1841 at Buckingham Palace
Parents: Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Relation to Elizabeth II: great-grandfather
House of: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Ascended to the throne: January 22, 1901 aged 59 years
Crowned: August 9, 1902 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Alexandra, daughter of Christian of Denmark
Children: Three sons including George V, and three daughters
Died: May 6, 1910 at Buckingham Palace, aged 68 years, 5 months, and 24 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 9 years, 3 months, and 12 days
Succeeded by: his son George V

He was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and known to his family as ‘Bertie’. As Prince of Wales he did not meet his parent’s expectations of duty and during his mother’s long reign devoted himself to being self-indulgent. He was likeable, sociable and outgoing but became known as a playboy interested in horse racing, shooting, eating, drinking and other men’s wives.

In 1863 he married Alexandra of Denmark and the marriage was a reasonably happy producing 6 children. Alexandra tolerated his succession of mistresses who included Lille Langtry (actress), Lady Churchill (mother of Winston Churchill), Sarah Bernhardt (actress) and Alice Keppel (great-grandmother of Camilla wife of Charles the current Prince of Wales). Having mistresses was at the time not uncommon amongst the aristocracy, but his mother despaired of him and kept him away from taking an active part in politics even after Albert's death and she was elderly and retired to Balmoral and Osborne. In 1871 Edward survived a serious illness of typhoid which had killed his father. His eldest son Albert who was engaged to Mary of Teck died of pneumonia.

Edward was well received abroad and as heir-apparent toured India in 1875. When he finally became King Edward VII on the death of his mother in 1901, he frequently made trips to Europe including France where he contributed to the Anglo-French ‘Entente Cordiale’ signed in 1904, to Russia and the Triple Entente between Britain, Russia and France which a few years later would play an important role in affairs on the outbreak of World War I. He supported reform of the army following the Boer War, and Admiral Fisher’s expansion of the Royal Navy including building the new Dreadnought battleships.

The Edwardian period was seen as golden age for the upper class in Europe and America, but society was changing – socialism, women suffragettes, the Labour party and trade unions were becoming powerful and the founding of Britain’s Welfare State. ‘We are all socialists now’ he is reported to have remarked. In an increasing democratic society Edward saw the importance of displaying the mystique of pomp and circumstance of the monarchy, and seeing and being seen by the people. A role he and his successors took to well. He died of pneumonia at Buckingham Palace in 1910 and was succeeded by his second son George V."

The Discover Gravesham website tells us about the clock tower:

"The year was 1887, and up and down the country Victorians were thinking about ways in which they could celebrate the Golden Jubilee of their Queen. In Gravesend, a committee was formed to consider a variety of proposals ranging from a public landing stage close to Town Pier to the endowment of the hospital. The committee's vote was unanimous in favour of a clock tower.

The sum of £679 14 shilling (£679.70) was eventually raised and architects were invited to submit designs under pseudonyms so that there could be no bias in the judging. The winning architect used the name 'Experience' and was Mr John Johnson. The building of the tower was put out to tender and Mr W H Archer's costing of £675 to build a Portland Stone tower was accepted. The end of Harmer Street was the site chosen for the clock tower. The street itself is lined with impressive four-storey terrace buildings that are part of the ‘new’ Gravesend started in the 1840s. The architect Amon Henry Wilds (who also designed the Town Hall) planned a grand route leading from the riverside at the Royal Terrace Pier right up to Windmill Hill. At the riverside end, there were pleasure gardens designed by J C Loudon, a well-known landscape designer of the day. The clock tower was constructed on the centre point of the route at Berkley Crescent. The foundation stone was laid on 6 September 1887 and was the highpoint of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations with over 6,000 people attending the ceremony.

Under the foundation stone in a sealed bottle are copies of local papers and coins minted specially for the Jubilee. The money to pay for the clock itself still had to be raised and it was the 5 June 1889 before the Mayor started the clock for the first time. The dial was lit by gaslight which turned off automatically at daylight. Contemporary sources suggest Smith & Son of the Midland Clock Company made the clock and the bells were cast by Warner & Co, Cripplegate, London. The total cost for the clock and tower was £1,097. It stands over 50ft (18.2 m) high and each clock face is 5 ft 6in (1.6 m) in diameter."

Monarch Ranking: King / Queen

Proper Title and Name of Monarch: His Majesty King Edward VII

Country or Empire of Influence: United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

Website for additonal information: [Web Link]

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