Portrush Station Clock under threat after local council declines to buy it

The future of a historic Portrush Station Clock is under threat after local councillors refused to buy the clock from its current owner.

Barry Torrens recently moved to Italy and can no longer take care of the clock - he fears that the Victorian clock will be lost to the North Coast's rich heritage.

"What I've been forced to do is put it up for sale. It was built for the people of Portrush over 130 years ago and to see it just lost would be an awful shame," Barry said.

"I'm looking for zero profit - in fact I am even willing to take a loss on the clock - the important factor is that it remains on the North Coast for the North Coast residents," he added.

Barry Torrens has owned the clock for over 15 years. Credit: UTV

Local traders in the town have also supported calls for clock to remain in the area.

"We have lost so much stuff over the years but this is a really important piece of history. It was there from 1892," said John McAfee who runs the local vintage shop.

"I think it's a disaster - I would say the majority of people in Portrush would feel the same," he added.

John McAfee knows the history of Portrush more than most - he is the proud owner of the local vintage shop. Credit: UTV

In response, a spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens council said it accepted a request to temporarily house the clock in their Cloonavin building in 2016 until a permanent home could be found.

"Since then, the clock has been housed in the Bann Gallery, which is not an ideal location, given the size of the item in question," the spokesperson said.

"In July 2023, the owner of the clock informed Council that he would be emigrating and offered Council the opportunity to purchase the clock for £10,000, before putting it up for sale on the open market," the council added in a statement.

"Elected Members voted to decline the offer and requested that the owner liaises with Council to remove the clock from Cloonavin at his earliest convenience."

The Portrush Station Clock is so famous in the town that it is even on fridge magnets in souvenir shops. Credit: UTV

However, not all local representatives were against the council buying the clock.

Alderman Richard Stewart wanted to keep historic timepiece in the council's hands but now says that local businesses need to step up to ensure the clock is not lost to history.

"It's not going to be a huge expense but the importance of the clock and what it means to the people of the town is more important and I think there is opportunity because if we don't save the clock now, it's gone and it's gone for good," Ald Richard Stewart told UTV.

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