High Street and Clock Tower in late June. © 2018 Nick Skeens

Burnham Clock Tower is the High Street’s principal landmark.

A red brick octagonal clock tower with black brick quoins and diapering, it was built with four levels, topped off with a fish-scale-tiled, ogee roof.

The tower was erected in 1877 by public subscription in memory of Mr Laban Sweeting.

Laban Sweeting was a local oyster merchant and a noted philanthropist to both individuals and groups in the area. Amongst his many achievements was founding the Burnham branch of the Essex Provident Society and becoming Superintendent of district Sunday Schools.

When he died on 22 November 1876, there was an outpouring of grief amongst the people of Burnham and a fund was set up to purchase a public clock in his memory. The initial intention was to erect a public clock but within two months so much money was donated that enabled a Clock Tower to be built to house the clock.

The tower was then attached to the existing St Mary’s School in the High Street to recognise the work that Laban Sweeting has carried out on behalf of local children.

The Town Clock is maintained by the Town Council.

Apart from its architectural beauty, it’s a good place to run to in a downpour.

The Clock Tower, May, 2018. The building next to it used to be St Mary’s School. © Nick Skeens.