A clock that has been a meeting point for Edinburgh couples for decades has been restored in time for Valentine’s Day.
The landmark on the corner of Princes Street and Hope Street, known locally as the Binns Clock, has traditionally been a point for couples to meet before heading off on a night out in the capital.
After falling into a state of disrepair in recent years, the elegant cantilever timepiece has been brought back to life as part of the new Johnnie Walker visitor centre development.
It is being officially unveiled on Valentine’s Day as a symbol of hope for future generations, who will meet again under it in future.
For the past year, it has been worked on by The Cumbria Clock Company, who have previously restored The Great Clock housing Big Ben in London and the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool.
They dismantled the clock to study its original mechanics and colours, including the hand-painted Highland figures that march out of the clock to mark the hour and half hour, before meticulously rebuilding it.
They have also repaired the musical mechanism which plays the traditional Scottish tunes Caller Herrin and Scotland the Brave every half hour as the kilted figures march out of the clock.
In keeping with tradition, the Highland figures will emerge to the musical accompaniment every seven and 37 minutes past the hour.
Mark Crangle from the Cumbria Clock Company said: “It has been a meticulous process restoring the clock to its original condition. We had to delicately strip back worn paintwork to source and match the clock’s original colours and gold trimmings, and we spent a great amount of time on the speed and timings of the bells, tunes and pipers to ensure it all matched perfectly.
“Working on this restoration project has been such a privilege and I’ve really enjoyed hearing the stories of what the clock means to locals and how it’s played a role in so many special memories. These stories really consolidate why we do what we do, and we can’t wait for Edinburgh residents to now be able to enjoy the clock again in all its grandeur.”
The restoration work has taken place as part of drinks brand Diageo’s multi-million pound new Edinburgh attraction.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street will tell the 200-year-old story of their scotch whisky across an eight-floor multisensory visitor attraction.
Due to open in summer 2021, the experience will feature rooftop bars, private dining areas, modern sensory tasting rooms, personalised tour and tasting experiences, and live performance areas.
Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Diageo’s Scottish Brand Homes, said: “The restoration of the clock has been a lovely part of our work at Johnnie Walker Princes Street. Its heritage and connection with the local community is so poignant, particularly now when people are desperately missing being able to meet and socialise together.
“We wanted to unveil the restored clock in time for Valentine’s Day this year as a symbol of hope for the future, and we can’t wait to see future generations meeting under the clock at Johnnie Walker Princes Street, before enjoying a wonderful day or night out in Scotland’s capital city.”
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