AT 198ft high, Bolton Town Hall’s iconic clock tower has stood proudly over Victoria Square for almost 150 years.

But in recent months, one of its four glass clock faces has begun to show the ravages of time with any passing pedestrian checking his watch having to do a double take as they hurry to work.

With each face having a diameter of 12ft, working on the clock is not an easy task. But this week saw two employees of The Cumbria Clock Company climb more than 60 metres to replace both the hands and the spindle of the face overlooking the square.

“There is an issue with the minute-hand coming loose which is why it hasn’t been working for quite a long period of time,” said horologist Keith Scobie-Youngs. “We were first called in to look a couple of months ago but it’s not been operating properly for much longer.

“We specialise in repairing church clocks and public clocks and the clock up there is a wonderful thing.”

The town hall was opened on Thursday, June 5, 1873, by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

A fire raged through the town hall in 1981, destroying the Albert Halls, but the clock tower stood firm with the original clock mechanism, built by William Potts of Leeds, intact.

“The hands are exposed and, after 160 years, wear and tear takes place,” said Keith. “We will now renovate the dial and get it back in place in time for Remembrance Sunday.

“There are not many things made today that can still do the same thing 160 years later and, if properly maintained, it will continue to work for another hundred years.”

Keith and his staff have carried out work on the clocks at Salisbury Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace and Liverpool’s Liver Building, but he believes Bolton’s clock tower stands as their equal.

“It is right up there” he added. “William Potts made some fantastic clocks and Bolton is one of their jewels in the crown.”