Happy Birthday Leicester Clocktower!

That grand meeting place of Leicester city turns 150 this year, and I was invited to The Globe today to celebrate the Clocktower’s birthday with our historic county brewery, Everards.


New camera – not used to it yet, and I was chatting…

They have released Clock Tower, a dark golden ale, to celebrate this historic year for the city. I’ll be honest, I did not get the note of blackcurrant at all, but the four hops – intended to represent the four figures in the city’s history – do give a strong bitterness that lingers long on the finish, a characteristic for me that is more representative of the Clocktower’s enduring legacy and influence on the city and the cityscape. As you would expect from Everards and their scale of production, this is a crowd pleaser – none too complicated or challenging but certainly a pleasing pint nonetheless. I would be inclined to simply term it a bitter though, I did not really get the ‘golden ale’ characterization, but perhaps that says more about my own naivity when it comes to this category of ale.

Courtesy of Everards

It was a jolly old birthday party that was held, with a stand up buffet accompanying the samples of Clock Tower, with the crowning glory being a beautiful chocolate cake made by Leicester Mistress of Baking Extraordinaire, Bitsy’s Emporium of Awesome – made in the form of the pump clip.

Yeah, wasn’t paying enough attention when taking photos.
Still, you can see that the cake is awesome.

Leicester‘s Haymarket Memorial Clocktower was designed by renowned local architect, J Goddard after the idea of the founder of the Leicester(shire) Mercury to create a central sculpture in the city centre that would provide a new focal point and an early example of the regeneration of a dilapidated area. For generations now it has been an iconic meeting point. It took a team of 32 masons and an overseeing foreman until 1839 to actually complete the work (is the birthday the date of conception, or birth…?! Probably best not to raise that at this point.)

The structure is perhaps best known for the four ‘Leicester greats’ which flank the gothic style tower. A slightly strange choice of key figures if you ask me – but Big Names nonetheless and all Lords, mayors or other key political power holders in the town at various points in history. Simon de Montfort (the fifth one, since you asked) was a thirteenth century French noble¬† and Earl of Leicester. It is unlikely he ever actually came to the city as he was so tied up causing trouble in London. William Wygston was a medieval wool merchant whose family amassed such fabulous wealth that at one point they were liable for 25% of Leicester’s total tax bill.¬†

In 1535, one year before the death of William Wygston, Sir Thomas White – our next key figure – founded a charity to give business start up loans to young men who wanted to start up a business. That charity still exists today but now also deigns to lend to aspiring businesswomen as well as men! The final statue is of Alderman Gabriel Newton, another member of the wool trade who is perhaps best known for leaving his fortune for the education of the poor via St Mary de Castro, which eventually turned into the Alderman Newton School, a building which is now home to the Richard III visitor centre.

So now you know! Well, now you know my understanding of the whole thing anyway.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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