Leslie in danger of becoming town that time forgot

The 'town' clock at St Mary's Church has been out of time for the last seven weeks. Pic: Steve Brown
The 'town' clock at St Mary's Church has been out of time for the last seven weeks. Pic: Steve Brown

Leslie is in danger of being the town that time forgot because the prominent High Street clock has been not working for the last seven weeks.

A glass pane, which was damaged in winds in March, is yet to be replaced and it’s the uncertainty of who is going to pick up the maintenance bill, coupled with safety concerns over accessing the internal clock mechanism, that have meant the clock has also been left unwound.

The original building design

The original building design

It’s thought to be the first time in over 120 years that the clock has been left idle and there are growing calls from ‘ticked off’ residents for the local authority to ‘pull their finger out’ and fix the historic time piece.

The responsibility for its upkeep lies with Fife Council.

Alan Paterson, service manager, said: “As this is a complicated procedure involving a historic building, with restricted access to the clock mechanism, there are many details that have to be considered as part of the project before work can begin.”

Councillor Fiona Grant has written to chief executive Steven Grimond calling for more urgency, adding: “Locals are asking why a temporary repair has not been done to protect the internal workings from birds and the weather.”

The public clock that nearly never existed

The famous ‘town clock’, which sits within the St Mary’s Catholic Church, Leslie, would never have even existed had it not been for a local water company.

Plans for the building of what in 1878 was the Free Church, originally never featured a clock face within its design.

A Leslie Town Council minute of May 7, 1878 confirms that a public clock was the request of Leslie Joint Stock Water Company, who provided a sum of money towards its provision.

Until recently, time was maintained, along with clocks in Markinch and Thornton, by a designated clock winder.