THERE are few places in Wales as synonymous with one landmark as Machynlleth.

Ask anyone if they have passed through the town and the clock will be remarked upon while it has been a source pride to the inhabitants of Machynlleth since the day it was erected.

The site of the clock was once the sear of the town hall.

In 1854 the town hall stood on pillars in the middle of a market place.

Writer George Borrow wrote of his visit to the town in a a book called Wild Wales and an account of witnessing a large crowd standing below the building as the magistrates tried a poaching case.

Seemingly the site was chosen to be the home of a town clock in the decades which followed.

The clock was built by the residents of the town to celebrate the coming of age of the eldest son of the Fifth Marquess of Londonderry who lived in the town.

Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest, the Viscount Castlereagh, turned 21 on July 16, 1873 though a family bereavement put paid to the planned celebrations for a year when the clock’s foundation stone was laid amid general festivities.

Charles Stewart, Sixth Marquess of Londonderry. Picture by John Singer Sargent/Wikipedia.

Charles Stewart, Sixth Marquess of Londonderry. Picture by John Singer Sargent/Wikipedia.

Public subscriptions raised £1,000 to build the clock tower and plant trees along both sides of Pentrerhedyn and Maengwyn Streets.

The clock was designed by Henry Kennedy of Bangor and built by a local builder, Edward Edwards who used stone mined from Tremadog and red sandstone ferried from as afield as Mansfield to construct a 24m monument.

The landmark soon became beloved to residents.

In 1881 a storm damaged the clock faces and residents stumped up the cash for repairs.

By the turn of the 20th century the town clock had become a popular meeting point for the temperance movement and in 1907 the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, was met by hundreds of people at the site as he passed through to Aberystwyth.

The clock was also the focal point of a great carnival to mark the end of the Great War in July 1919 when a laurel wreath and floral tributes were displayed in memory of the people who died and an open-air memorial service was held at the clock and the town's brass band played sombre music.

Machynlleth in 1830. Picture: Wikpedia Commons.

Machynlleth in 1830. Picture: Wikpedia Commons.

And so the clock stood at the heart of the town for decades.

However by 2002 the beloved landmark was crumbling and in desperate need of repair.

By the time Glenda Jenkins became mayor in 2002, the Victorian timepiece was in need of repair and she had set about on a nine year campaign to restore it to its former glory.

Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the tune of £74,000 and more than £90,000 from Powys County Council gave campaigners hope.

Machynlleth Town Clock. Picture by Celuici/Wiki.

Machynlleth Town Clock. Picture by Celuici/Wiki.

Once again the residents of Machynlleth, just like their predecessors and ancestors more than a century earlier, rallied around and helped raise £30,000 while a couple from Hong King donated £1,000 to the cause having visited the town on holiday.

A final total of £200,000 ensured repairs on the clock began in 2009 and completed in 2011 and the return to past glories of one of mid Wales' most beloved and iconic timepieces.