Much-loved Morningside handed over after repair work

The Fully Restored Morningside Clock was put back in position today after being refurbished by James Ritchie and sons. Picture; Ian Georgeson
The Fully Restored Morningside Clock was put back in position today after being refurbished by James Ritchie and sons. Picture; Ian Georgeson
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AN iconic Capital clock has been given a timely facelift with £16,000 of repair work.

Broxburn-based original makers James Ritchie & Sons were hands-on in the six-week project to restore Morningside Clock to its former glory.

The 130-year-old timepiece, built for the opening of the Morningside Railway Station in 1884, is now back in public view.

“The delicate conservation has been completed by hand and it is fantastic to see it so lovingly restored,” said city council culture leader Donald Wilson.

“I’m sure the local community will be glad to see its rightful return.”

The clock was a familiar sight in Morningside until the train station closed to passengers in 1962.

Only rail freight uses the line these days, though diverted passenger trains can still occasionally pass through Morningside.

Although the station has gone, its entrance remains and is now home to a branch of the Bank of Scotland.

The clock was placed in storage while a new road junction was built before being returned to the area in 1968.

It was moved to its current roadside position atop its cast iron pillar in 2004.

“Standing atop its pillar in all weathers, the Morningside Clock was in need of repainting, glazing and mechanical repair,” said Tony Charlesworth, of James Ritchie & Son.

“The colours had faded over the years but after weeks of careful conservation, we have returned it to its original state.

“This is how the clock would have looked when it was unveiled back in 1884. It has been a joy to restore and return.”

As well as keeping good time, the clock has become a popular meeting point for walkers and cyclists. It also forms the backdrop to celebrations, including Morningside Community Council’s Christmas lights.

The clock has been re-installed near an altogether more macabre landmark – the site of one of the last highwayman hangings in Scotland.

The Hanging Stanes in Braid Road mark the spot where Thomas Kelly and Henry O’Neill were strung up one January morning in 1815 for robbing passing carrier David Loch.

In keeping with the sentencing policy of the day, as practised by the notorious Lord Braxfield and others, Kelly and O’Neill were sentenced to be hanged on the site of their crime.

Their grim fate drew a decent crowd and the stones that provided sockets for the gibbets are preserved in the roadway with a plaque nearby.

Simon Erdzik, waiter at the Mia Italian restaurant opposite the clock, said the landmark has been missed.

“We’ve certainly noticed the work being done and it’ll be great to get it back. Diners have been turning up early so maybe they’ll be on time again now.”