Ruckus around the clock – hammer blow as Council investigate ‘too noisy’ Delph timepiece

A historic village clock is under investigation over claims its newly restored 24-hour chimes are too noisy.

The clock at the Millgate Arts Centre

Oldham Council confirmed a complaint has been received about the volume ringing out from the 119-year-old clock sited on the front of Millgate Arts Centre in Delph.

Custodians of the building, home to Saddleworth Players, Saddleworth Live and Delph Library, could be hit with a noise abatement order if the hourly chimes are found to be too loud.

News of the complaint has wound up the rest of the community fearing the bell may no longer toll for the village centrepiece.

Ian Shepherd, Arts Centre chair, raised the alarm about the intervention by environmental health officers on social media and has been inundated with responses.

“Most are of the opinion it is like sheep and owls; it’s part and parcel of living in a community like we do,” Ian told the Independent. “Most want to hear it chiming all night.

“However, there has been a complaint to the Council who could deem it to be a statutory nuisance.

“If certain levels of decibels are exceeded, legally they cannot ignore it.

“I am aware churches have been forced to silence their bells under a noise abatement order because they have been considered too noisy.”

A compromise, albeit, according to Ian at extra cost, could be to restrict the chimes from sounding at night.


Father Time finally caught up with the clock, set in motion for the first occasion in 1899, in 2016.

The jammed hammer mechanism was only repaired less than a month ago after Ian called in experts from Cumbria.

The Independent’s Sophie Doherty went to discover if Delph really does want to call time on its clock’s chimes.

One local shopkeeper told us: “I’m no more than a two-minute walk away and I haven’t heard it chime.”

Another local said: “Keep it chiming!”

Edna from Edna’s Cosy Café added: “I actually don’t mind it, I don’t hear it a lot because of people talking. I can only hear it when I sit outside.”

And Claire Holland from Redmonds Solicitors, whose new office is directly opposite the Millgate, said: “Everybody is really upset that someone’s complained. You can’t get much nearer than me and it doesn’t bother me.

“From a business point of view clients have asked where has the bell come from and say it’s really nice.

“It’s like bringing a traditional thing back into the village.

“it’s not an issue at all, I just think it’s a really nice addition to the village and I am glad that they have restored it.”

Posting on Facebook Jayne Dixon said: “My boss used to wind the original clock up twice a week in the early Sixties. Nice to have it working again.”

Audrey Barrass wrote: “I lived on Millgate for 18 years and heard the clock every night. It was lovely. Accept what should always be in Delph or live somewhere else.”

And Jake Green said: “I lived at 8 Millgate for the best part of 30 years. The bell can’t have been more than 10 metres from my bedroom and it never bothered me.”

An Oldham Council spokesperson said: “We are looking into things and are considering all the options before any decision will be made.”

No timescale has been placed on the decision.

3 Replies to “Ruckus around the clock – hammer blow as Council investigate ‘too noisy’ Delph timepiece”

  1. I live 100 yards away from the clock and I never hear it. The traffic noise is louder than the clock. This clock is part of the charm of Delph village and to stop it would take something else away from our lovely village. Whoever has complained about it needs to find somewhere else to live and let the clock continue to strike out the time to the people who live here who appreciate it.

  2. Don’t know what all the fuss is about regard g the clock. It’s lovely sounding. People should leave the village if they are not happy.

  3. I was born and bred in the house at the side of the car park and the clock was always an integral part of the village life. If the person complaining is a comer in they should have done their research before moving to the village.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *