WHAT ever happened to the clock tower?

The question was asked by some readers after the Daily Echo took a back at how Bournemouth’s Square looked in 1985.

We shared the picture to mark ‘Back to the Future Day’ – the date in 2015 that time traveller Marty McFly visited in the second part of the 1980s film series. A number of readers said they missed the clock that used to stand on a tower in the Square.

In pictures: Bournemouth's leaning clock tower through the years >>>

Parts of the clock are said to survive on top of the current Obscura Cafe, but it is not entirely clear which parts.

And the distinctive casing around the original clock turns out to have been sold because no museums were interested in it.

The clock originally stood on the roof of a tram shelter built in the centre of the Square in 1925. The clock itself was given to the town by Captain HB Norton, a magistrate and former councillor.

The shelter became derelict after trams were withdrawn in favour of trolleybuses in 1936. It was demolished in 1947, and Captain Norton’s clock was instead installed on the top of a distinctive new tower, surrounded by flower beds at the centre of a traffic roundabout.

As early as 1972, people claimed that the clock tower seemed to be listing. Town Hall officials insisted it was an optical illusion, but when trees and bushes around the tower were cleared in 1992, it was revealed that Bournemouth really did have its own leaning tower.

Bournemouth Echo:

Work on pedestrianising the Square began in 1997, it was revealed that the clock tower was set for demolition as part of a £1.9million improvement scheme which would include the building of a cafe with a camera obscura on the first floor – and a clock on the roof.

The camera obscura was never seen working, but parts of Captain Norton’s clock were supposed to have been incorporated into the clock on the roof of the cae.

Bournemouth council, however, has been unable to say which parts were used. The casing was too heavy, but it’s unclear whether the clock faces are the same ones that stood there for most of the 20th century.

Ian Kalra, head of transportation services at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “When the square was developed back in the late nineties into its current format the clock tower was taken down and parts of it were included into the camera obscura building. However, because of the heavy outer casing of the clock it was not practical for this to be used as well.

“The casing was being kept in storage in the event that another use could be made for it and local museums were contacted to see if they would be interested in taking it. Unfortunately nothing came of this and so it has been sold privately.”