|Lean times are ahead in one of Britain's
poorest boroughs. The local council is spending £40,000 on a clock tower purposely built
to tilt like the tower of Pisa. The 20ft-high obelisk is going up next month in Amhurst
Road in Hackney, east London.
"It will lean to
the left," said Naomi Russell, a local Labour councillor. Some say, however, that
Hackney has done little else for the past 20 years.
The tower will lean at an angle of six degrees to match its
medieval counterpart in Italy. However, in a concession to modern times, it will have a
digital clock face and will be covered by a mosaic of translucent blue glass.
Opinion is already divided over its function. A spokesman
at Hackney town hall said: "It's an urban art piece." But Tim Chapple,
development manager at Groundwork Hackney, an environmental charity, said: "It's not
beautification. It's for a reason. It marks out the way to Hackney Central railway
The tower will cast a permanent "shadow" on the
pavement, which will point the quickest route to the trains.
Hattie Coppard, the artist who designed the tower with her
brother Tom, said: "It is going to be in a very busy area, so immediately you take
something away from the surrounding straight, vertical lines, it gets noticed."