The re-landscaping of the area around one of Plymouth’s iconic landmarks is now complete.
As part of the public realm improvements to the Theatre Royal Plymouth, a new split level public space has been created with Derry’s Clock as its focus. The clutter around the base of the clock has been removed to improve the setting of this listed structure and the space paved with granite to match other areas of the city centre. The clock has been floodlit from its base and the whole area around it re-landscaped.
Councillor Tudor Evans said: “This work has completely transformed the back of the Theatre Royal Plymouth and vastly improved the feel of this area.
“It used to be a place people scurried through – now it is somewhere for people to stop and eat their sandwiches on a sunny day, it creates a much better impression of the city for the many people who come to our incredible theatre from all over the region.
“Our City Centre is very important to this city and the Council and its partners are incredibly conscious of the need for it to be attractive, interesting and a place people want to visit – residents as well as visitors. This project hits all those buttons!”
Adrian Vinken OBE, Theatre Royal Plymouth Chief Executive said: “One of our key aims of the Regeneration Project was to restore this iconic landmark back to the prominent city centre position it rightly deserves.
“Derry’s Clock’s importance as a historic meeting place and the symbolic centre of the city deserves to be celebrated. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to create an open and accessible space that all members of the public, not only theatregoers, can enjoy. Through the work that has been done we hope that the people of Plymouth will continue to enjoy Derry’s Clock over the next 150 years of its life.”
Derry’s Clock has its origins in 1862 when local businessman (and later mayor) William Derry donated money towards the building of a clock. Legal restrictions on what a local council could do meant that the corporation was unable to fund the building of a clock but it could help pay to the construction of a water fountain – which is what it did. Although known as Derry’s Clock, it is officially a fountain and has never been linked to a water supply!
The landscaping formed part of the Theatre Royal Plymouth Regeneration Project, a £7.5 million redevelopment of the Theatre Royal. The project was only made possible with an initial investment of £5 million from Arts Council England and the full support of Plymouth City Council. The Theatre Royal Plymouth successfully raised the additional £2 million to complete the project.
Plans are in place to renovate the clock later this year.