Manual Ref* NFnrNOR022 Show 4 images 406

Gurney clock - Castle Mall formerly

County Norfolk   District Council Norwich City Council 
Civil Parish or equivalent Norwich  Town/Village* Norwich 
Road Timberhill 
Precise Location Inside Timberhill entrance to Castle Mall shopping Centre 
OS Grid Ref TG233083  Postcode NR14 
Previous location(s) Chapelfield Gardens 
Setting Shopping Centre  Access Public 
Artist/Maker Role Qualifier
Martin Burgess  Other   
Michael Barber  Sculptor(s)   
Roy Foster  Designer(s)   

Commissioned by

Barclays Bank 

Design & Constrn period

1974-; glass case 1998 

Date of installing

1984 Castle Mall 1999 

Exact date of unveiling



Abstract Animal Architectural
Commercial Commemorative Composite
Free Functional Funerary
Heraldic Military Natural
Non-Commemorative Performance Portable
Religious Roadside, Wayside Sculptural
Temporary, Mobile Other  

Object Type

Building Clock Tower Architectural
Coat of Arms Cross Fountain
Landscape Marker Medallion
Mural Panel Readymade
Relief Shaft Sculpture
Statue Street Furniture War Memorial
Other Object Sub Type: Clock with emblematic sculpture

Subject Type

Allegorical Mythological Pictorial
Figurative Non-figurative Portrait
Still-life Symbolic Other

Subject Sub Type

Bust Equestrian Full-length
Group Head Reclining
Seated Standing Torso
Part Material Dimension
Base and top 9 curved panels  Stainless steel  ea. H. 40 cms W. 1.10 metres 
Dividing struts  Stainless steel  ea H. 3 metres W. 14 cms 
9 panels  Glass  ea H. 3 metres W. 1 metre 
Lion  Fibreglass  H.1.50 metres 
Clock  Brass  H. approx. 2 metres. 

Work is

Extant Not Sited Lost


Norwich City Council 

Listing status

Grade I Grade II* Grade II Don't Know Not Listed

Surface Condition

Corrosion, Deterioration Accretions
Bird Guano Abrasions, cracks, splits
Biological growth Spalling, crumbling
Metallic staining Previous treatments

Structural Condition

Armature exposed Broken or missing parts
Replaced parts Loose elements
Cracks, splits, breaks, holes Spalling, crumbling
Water collection Other


Graffiti Structural damage Surface Damage

Overall condition

Good Fair Poor


No Known Risk At Risk Immediate
Inscriptions On clock bell WHITECHAPEL 1935 

Description (physical)

The clock by Martin Burgess was a replica of one of John Harrison’s (1693-1776) chronometers which were so accurate that they enabled navigators to establish their longitude. It was placed in an elegant stainless steel and glass housing by Roy Foster and linked with a poorly executed sculpture by Michael Barber. This illustrated the interaction of Barclays - represented by the Scales - with the City - the Castle and Lion through the circulation of money. As the clock strikes the Lion turns to take one of the balls in his paws and sets it rolling down the spiral. The commission, for a site in Chapelfield Gardens, began in 1974 when Barclays marked the bicentenary of their connection with Norwich. It was dogged by difficulties as Martin Burgess struggled to recreate Harrison's clock, only completing his part by 1984 and by 1992 the housing and the clock had been vandalised. The Norwich society played a key role in raising the funding to have it rehoused in the Castle Mall, completed in 1999. It was removed to storage late in 2015, with no current plans to replace it. 

Description (iconographical)

Gurneys was founded as a private bank – then the standard type - in 1770 by the Quakers John and Henry Gurney, sons of John Gurney (1688 – 1741), who passed the business to Henry's son, Bartlett Gurney in 1777, the year he acquired premises in Redwell Street (now known as Bank Plain) from Alderman Poole, a wine merchant. The Gurneys had close links through marriage with another London Quaker banking family, the Barclays, and the connection enabled them to invest in London at a higher rate of interest than was available in East Anglia, especially with the brokering firm of Richardson, Overend and Gurney (later Overend and Gurney), the most important of sixteen such private companies in the City. By 1865, as the Gurneys played a less significant role in the management of both the London discount house and the Norwich Gurneys Bank. Overend and Gurney had speculated unwisely and were in serious trouble, with £4 million of bad debt. Barclays ( a private Quaker bank) floated Overend and Gurney as a limited liability company on the stock exchange in the hope that it would trade out of its difficulties with new capital. In May 1866 it collapsed with even greater liabilities, ruining a number of the Norwich Gurneys. Barclays had anticipated the crisis and regarding the Norwich Gurney Bank as ‘one of their most valued country connections’ a month earlier, in April 1866, had injected fresh capital into the Norwich Bank, introducing new Quaker partners, including another Barclay. The Norwich Bank survived, but by the 1890s a series of amalgamations produced new banks with considerably greater funds than were available to the old Quaker private partnerships, and in 1896 Barclays & company (the present Barclays Bank) was formed through the amalgamation of Barclays, Gurneys and J. Backhouse and company. 


Date taken:  2/4/2007
Date logged: 

Photographed by:
Sarah Cocke

On Site Inspection

Date:  2/4/2007

Inspected by:
Sarah Cocke

Sources and References

Sexton Eric ‘The Gurney Clock’ The Norwich Society 1995 Annual Review 29; BOE I 319; Ryan, R., ‘Banking and Insurance’ in Rawcliffe, C. and Wilson, R. eds, Norwich since 1550, Hambledon and London, 2004, 370-373 


Date entered:  26/5/2007

Data inputter:
Richard Cocke