Old Joe, the University of Birmingham’s treasured landmark, is currently being repaired, after mechanical issues were identified with its clock face.
As Redbrick recently reported, Old Joe started to run slow in February, causing confusion within the student community.
On February 15th, a tweet posted on the University of Birmingham Estates twitter account announced that clockmakers would be brought in on the 21st to ‘tighten up [Old Joe’s] nuts and bolts’, and confirmed that, until then, ‘he will display the time as 12 o’clock and will not be lit up at night’. However, almost a month has passed, and Old Joe unfortunately remains broken.
According to the University of Birmingham Estates, the repairers discovered that the clock’s pendulum ‘stops swinging between 40 and 50 minutes past the hour’, and added that the clockmakers would return the following week to attempt to fix the problem.
However, clock repairs were further delayed when the cold freeze – also known as the ‘Beast from the East’ – hit the UK. The date for Old Joe’s restoration was subsequently pushed forward to March 6th – almost a month after issues with its timing were first identified.
On March 6th, this update was posted on the University of Birmingham Facebook page: ‘Oh dear. It looks as though our clock tower’s bearings are faulty and the whole mechanism needs to be stripped down and rebuilt!’ The post also confirmed that, until these issues are addressed, Old Joe will remain at 12 o’clock.
The most recent announcement from UoB was posted on the University of Birmingham Estates twitter page, and it stated that ‘surgical enhancements will be taking place on Tuesday [13th March] and parts will be taken away for repair later that week’.
Speaking to Redbrick, third year Political Science student, Oli, said, ‘I usually glance up to check the time whilst walking across campus, so not having Old Joe working is slightly annoying, but not the end of the world by any means’. Third year English Literature student, Katie, added, ‘while it’s a bit jarring seeing the wrong time on the clock face, it’s not really much of an inconvenience’. When asked for his thoughts, Parth, a final year Computer Science student, said, ‘hopefully the landmark that is Old Joe is back on its feet soon’.