Brighton's newest addition to city skyline: gatehouse clock tower completed just 125 years later than planned

The result, which was unveiled in front of the whole school with much celebration, is set to be a breath-taking addition to the Brighton skyline.

Posted on 09 December, 2014


Brighton College has launched a new landmark in the city, featuring at its heart a stunning Smith of Derby clock.

Work on the Jackson Tower has been completed with the unveiling of its grand gatehouse tower at its entrance – finally built after a 125-year delay.

The tower, which has been named Cairns Tower after the school’s headmaster, was supposed to be the crowning glory of architect Sir Thomas Graham Jackson’s late 19th century additions to Brighton College (which was built in 1845) but a shortage of funds meant his splendid creation was never finished. Instead a rather squat, two-storey affair was created.

In 2012, the Eastern Road independent school engaged historic building specialists Richard Griffiths Architects to complete the original design of the tower externally.

A particularly stunning facet of the new tower is the elegant Smith of Derby clock on the north side and sundial on the south side. The clock dial for the north side is a skeleton style, back lit, glazed clock dial.

Martin Bucthers, technical sales engineer for Smith of Derby, said: “We are proud to have been chosen for this project, as Smith of Derby and the original Brighton College building were both founded in the same era, the mid 1800s. Jackie Jones from the Sundial House in Brighton provided the technical expertise to enable our team to set out the precise sundial graphics and gnomon profile. The result is outstanding and we hope will be a feature and talking point for both students and townsfolk alike.”

Brighton College was originally designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the architect of many an iconic building, including the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras, now the Gothic Revival stunner that is the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

The tower is part of the third great wave of development at the College since it opened in 1845.

This also includes the Diamond Jubilee Pavilion in East Brighton Park, an award-winning £6m boarding house opened September 2013 and a new music centre slated to open next summer.

To read what Building Design Online had to say about the project in Brighton follow the link here

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