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Opening of the Floral Clock, 21st June, 1907

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

The Bridlington Chronicle, Friday, 21st June, 1907

New Floral Clock on the Prince's Parade

The Mayoress sets it in motion

On Wednesday evening last a huge crowd assembled on the Royal Prince's Parade to witness the setting in motion of the new floral clock (put down on the Parade by the Property Committee of the Council), the only one of its kind in England. The ceremony was gracefully performed by the Mayoress (Mrs J. Sawdon), who was accompanied by the Mayor (Alderman J. Sawdon, J.P., C.C.), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor G. Rennard), Chairman of the Property Committee (Councillor C. G. Southcott), and other members of the Corporation, together with the head officials, Mr A. E. Matthews (Borough Surveyor), Mr Charles Palmer (Parade Manager), and Mr S. R. Crofts (Town's Gardener), etc.

With the exception of the mechanical portion, the whole of the work has been carried out by Mr Crofts in a manner deserving of the highest praise, and is yet another evidence of the skill and ability of the Town's Gardener, whose efforts are so greatly appreciated by both ratepayers and visitors alike. The clock itself has been supplied by Messrs J. Ritchie & Son, Edinburgh, at a cost of about £25.

The total diameter of the clock is about 19 feet, the dial being 12 feet in diameter planted alternately with light and dark Alternanthera. Outside the dial is a border 3 feet 6 inches in width, filled with circles and ovals planted with light and dark Alternanthera. The edges of the bed are of Echevaria, "Faronosa" and Lobelia "King of the Blues." The minutes are marked with Echevaria, "Metallic," and Echevaria, "Farninosa." The hands are planted with Echavaria, "Secunda Glauca," and Alternanthera. The whole design has a charming effect, and is a triumph of the art of carpet bedding. Nearly 10,000 plants have been used in the formation of the floral clock.

Punctually at the advertised time, the Mayor and Mayoress and party assembled on the grass slope fronting the first colonnade. Further on the Municipal Orchestra occupied a temporary bandstand, and the time of waiting was pleasantly passed by the large company in listening to the sections of music provided by Mr Sainton. Every place from which a glimpse of the proceedings could be obtained was occupied, the broad walk in some places being crowded seven or eight deep. The Mayoress was introduced by Councillor Southcott, who said it afforded him the greatest pleasure that night to ask the Mayoress to set in motion the marvellous clock, of which the Property Committee and the Council were exceedingly proud, seeing that it was the only one its kind in England.

They called themselves "The King of Watering Places," and he was pleased to think that in the matter of the floral clock, as in many other respects, they led the way amongst watering places. He trusted this new departure would be of great use to the visitors and also serve to advertise Bridlington far and wide. He had been much amused by the many speculations as to how the clock was operated, but he would tell them that it was a great secret, which he was not going to give away. He wanted it to advertise their beautiful town so that they might reap some benefit from this wonderful piece of mechanism.

Without detaining them further, he would ask the Mayoress, in the name of the Corporation, to set in motion the clock by cutting the ribbon which held the hands fast, for which purpose he had great pleasure in handing to her a pair of elegant silver-handled scissors, of which the Council asked her acceptance as a memento of the occasion.

The case bore the inscription: "Presented to the Mayoress (Mrs Sawdon) on the occasion of the starting of the floral clock on the Royal Princes Parade, June 19th, 1907." The gift was supplied by Messrs Dewhurst Brothers.