Thanks to this support from National Lottery players, the council can move ahead with plans that will restore Caledonian Park’s clock tower – a Grade II* listed building – to its former glory. The clock tower can be fully refurbished and regularly opened to the public, for the first time in its history – with free guided tours offering breath-taking views across the city from its 40metre-high balcony. The project will benefit from a brand new heritage centre to take full advantage of the opportunity to tell the rich history of the park and clock tower, while preserving it for generations to come.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, the council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund recognises the strengths of this project and the invaluable opportunities it offers to celebrate and preserve our history for future generations.
“This clock tower is a jewel in Islington’s crown, and the new heritage centre and refurbished clock tower will pay a fitting tribute to the iconic status of the tower and the former market.
“With the help of volunteers, we can bring this history alive in an engaging way for the 21st Century, and put the park and clock tower proudly back at the heart of the community in a new way.
“We are committed to working closely with all residents to create a truly sustainable heritage centre that also offers all park visitors a warm welcome thanks to a new café and toilets.
“I look forward to working with local residents and the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the project the success I know it can be.”
The centre will feature a dedicated space for these educational displays and activities, a new café with indoor and outdoor seating and accessible toilet facilities, space for a park ranger and volunteer’s room, and 24-hour CCTV coverage.
A range of great volunteering activities will be on offer to the community, with opportunities to help bring the park and clock tower's story to life for visitors, deliver a formal and informal learning programme for school groups and residents, run guided tours to the top of the tower and help maintain the park.
As with the extensive consultation held during the project’s development, resident involvement will remain central to the project, right through the build process and into helping shape the successful running of the park and heritage centre in the long-term.
The council recognises the value of high-quality parks, open spaces and the importance of the clock tower, and has committed to fund the project for the next 20 years.