Leaning clock begins to fall out of time

The Albert Clock in Belfast has been stuck at 11.21 since New Year's Day
The Albert Clock in Belfast has been stuck at 11.21 since New Year's Day

The Province’s famed leaning clock tower has developed a new defect... it has stopped telling the time.

The hands of the Albert Clock, standing now far from the River Lagan, were noticed at the weekend to have ground to a halt.

It was built in 1865 and major work had been done to it around the turn of the millennium to help deal with its lean.

Billy Dickson – who has been taking walking tours of the city for roughly 20 years – said: “I’d be interested to find out if there’s been any more lean... I’m sure they check it from time to time. I’d be interested to find out if that’s a factor.”

If this proves to have been the first time that the mechanism has failed, he will incorporate the fact into his tours.

It was not clear exactly when it had stopped, but it was believed to have been broken since at least Saturday.

Rev Brian Stewart has ministered at St George’s Church of Ireland, about 50 yards from the clock, since 1994.

He said he was not aware that it had stopped before (except for the restoration work) but said he was not surprised, given its age.

He said he is confident it will be fixed, adding that there would be a “public outcry” otherwise.

In August it had been noticed that the chimes of Big Ben (roughly three times bigger than the Albert Clock and built several years before) had started to fall out of time.