THE painstaking restoration of an ornate clock in the town centre - which dates back more than a century - will reach its completion next week.

Benjamin Harral’s - a former jewellers on Eldon Street - was a much-loved shop and was well-known for giving out a complimentary bread knife to those who bought an engagement or wedding ring.

Founded in 1898, it was family-run for nearly 100 years until its closure in 1985.

Also known for its lavish window displays, a key part of its advertising was the large clock which still hangs above the front door - although it hasn’t kept its time for years.

However, that’s now changing after the three-face timepiece was included in multi-million pound plans to revitalise Eldon Street when it was awarded ‘heritage action zone’ status due to its historic significance.

The partnership, between Barnsley Council and Historic England, spans four years and finishing touches are being made to the new-look street which skirts the Glass Works.

The clock has benefited from a restoration which included a service, fresh paint in its original green and gold, rust removal, hand replacement and mechanism modernisation.

Barnsley Archives’ David Blunden, who has played a role in researching the venue’s history, said: “The clock is a well-known and well-loved feature in Barnsley town centre.

“Before the days of mobile phones, it was a popular meeting place for people as it stood out thanks to their elaborate window displays and of course the ornate clock.

“The clock was installed shortly after they moved in, along with a decorative tiled shopfront.

“Advertising was obviously an important consideration from the start and photographs of the original shop show large, painted sign boards along the roof line announcing ‘The Ring Shop’.

“The original tiled fascia sign survives - at least in part - underneath the current shopfront, and the top of the decorative doorhead can be seen above the later marble.

“When funding was secured for the heritage action zone project, we started to piece together images of the shop in years gone by and these span right back to the early 1900s.

“These were invaluable as they meant we could shape the restoration on what it was actually like - the clock was painted darker before work started, but it’s now in its original colour scheme of green and gold.

“Although much of the work the public will see is on the shop’s exterior, a large part of the clock’s restoration occurred on the inside of the building, where its mechanism is situated.

“Originally it had a system that required daily wind-ups in order for it to work, but now it’s going to benefit from more modern technology that won’t require that.”

Mr Harral was a member of the Clock Makers Company - one of the ancient City Guilds - and was given the freedom of the City of London having been lauded for making watches for members of the admiralty in the Royal Navy.

On Tuesday, from midday, leaders behind the programme will be on hand to celebrate the clock’s reveal and the wider Eldon Street project which is nearing completion.

Guided tours will be offered to locals and visitors who want to know more about the street’s rich past.

David added: “All that remains for the whole scheme to be completed now is a few finishing touches to the shop frontages.

“It’s been wonderful to piece together history and watch the clock’s refurbishment as this work will ensure it ticks for the decades to come.”