Shanghai's Iconic Clock Tower to Undergo Much-Needed Maintenance

By Urban Family, June 11, 2019

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This article originally appeared on our sister website, Urban Family Shanghai.


By Urban Family

The Custom House’s clock tower, one of the most renowned landmarks on the Bund in Shanghai, will soon undergo some much-needed maintenance, reports Kankanews.

Built back in 1927, the clock tower has four faces and offers panoramic views of the entire city. Based on the design of Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster, the clock’s mechanism was manufactured by J. B. Joyce & Co of England. The clock house is still the largest in Asia and is the third largest in the world.


Image via 上海发布/WeChat

One iconic feature of the clock is that it plays ‘The East Is Red’ – one of the most popular patriotic songs in China – every 15 minutes. The clock music was originally the classic tune known as Westminster Quarters.

Image via Wikipedia

The sound of the clock has accompanied Shanghairen for more than 90 years. Over the years, the performance of the clock has been relatively strong. However, its condition has deteriorated in recent years due to the aging of the mechanism system. In 2007, it underwent its first big maintenance. In 2017, the minute hand of the clock went haywire because of the scorching heat and the Shanghai Customs crew had to replace one of its key components.


Gif via NetEase

This March, the Shanghai Customs invited engineers from the manufacturer of the clock to conduct a thorough examination. As a result, two of the pivotal components were taken to Britain for further diagnosis and the mechanism system of the clock has temporarily been replaced by an electronic system. The sound of the clock now comes from a recording played by loudspeakers.

Image via Kankanews

On Monday June 10, the Shanghai Customs claimed that they had received the results of the examination and the suggestion for maintenance. “They promised that they will help fix the clock,” Wei Yunsi, the keeper of the clock tower told Kankanews. “The mechanism system will be used again after the maintenance.”

[Cover image via Wikipedia]


This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).

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