JACOBABAD: There are cracks running along the structure of the historical Victoria clock tower in Jacobabad, even as it stands tall in a sea of vendors and its bell seldom rings.
“There used to be a time when the clock rang every hour and could be heard for eight miles,” said historian Prof. Dr Ghulam Nabi Sidhayo. Wealthy Muslim and Hindu landlords decided to commission it in 1887 to mark 25 years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
The clock parts come from the clock tower of the British general, John Jacob, after whom the city was named. The historian claims that Jacob used to love clocks and had two clock towers built on his land, including one on his roof. When Jacob’s house caved in and broke his clock, the contractors used its parts for the clock in the new tower.
The Jacob family has sent donations over the years through different non-governmental organisations and district governments for the maintenance of Jacob’s grave and the tower.
Today, it is considered as one of the tallest clock towers in the continent and stands proud at 60 feet tall and eight feet wide.
The fading structure of the tower is yellowing because of the limestone used to paint the walls centuries ago. However, it is still a popular tourist attraction.
To a Karachi wallah, it might resemble the Empress Market in Saddar.
A clock tower can be built with one or more clock faces. It can stand alone or as part of a church or municipal building. There are five prominent clock towers in the country, including the Mereweather memorial clock tower in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.