for shops, businesses & community groups in the Oakwood Clock area of north Leeds
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The historic urban village of Oakwood is situated at the southern end of Roundhay Park
Sun 26 April, Oakwood & Roundhay
The clock tower at Oakwood, Leeds, has occupied the same landmark position at the southern edge of Roundhay Park for the whole of living memory, but in fact Oakwood is the clock tower's second home.
The tower had originally been given prime position in the new City Markets, which in 1904 replaced the existing covered market on Kirkgate in central Leeds. The manufacturer of the clock - William Potts & Sons - was a renowned firm of clockmakers, having already manufactured several clocks in Leeds, including the spectacular clocks for Thornton's Arcade and the Grand Arcade.The clock tower's home in the new City Markets incentral Leeds was shortlived. Within only eight years,the popularity of the new market meant that an extraentrance had to be created on Vicar Lane, and unfortunately the clock tower had to be moved out of the way.
The market's loss became Oakwood's gain. By the early 1900s, Oakwood had become an elegant residential area, with villas and mansions which still stand today. Furthermore, the tramway, which had been brought to Roundhay in 1891, had opened up Roundhay Park to visitors from all over Leeds. Oakwood was a prosperous and flourishing area, and having been incorporated into Leeds in 1912, it became the recipient of the clock tower from the City Markets. A shelter was added to provide welcome protection from the weather for passengers waiting for the tram, and so began the clock tower's new life at Oakwood.
Remarkably little has changed to Oakwood Clock and its vicinity in the hundred years since it left Leeds City Markets. One notable change took place in 1937, with the demolition of the imposing lodge at the entrance to Roundhay Park, which had once been a family estate. The 1960s saw another major change when the Leeds tramway service was brought to a close, and the tram tracks adjacent to Oakwood Clock were covered over.
A century after it was first moved to its outdoor location in Oakwood, the clock tower under which generations of visitors and residents have gathered was showing its age. It had not seen any restoration work since 1977 and was facing an uncertain future.
In 2013 a campaign was started by the Oakwood Traders & Residents Association (OTRA) to raise funds to rescue and restore Oakwood Clock. The year-long campaign resulted in numerous donations of time, effort and money by residents and former residents, culminating in a generous award by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The success of the campaign can be seen not only in a now-gleaming clock tower, but also in beautifully landscaped surroundings.
The restoration of Oakwood Clock has led to a revitalisation of Oakwood urban village, with community events now taking place throughout the year. To follow Oakwood's success story, read the Latest News and visit OTRA's new site, www.loveoakwood.co.uk .
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