It was part of a complex of halls, library and other public facilities called the People's Palace, designed by Edward Robson, the man who created the Queen Anne style of London's Board Schools.
The tower has a little treat for sculpture fans on the north face, hidden from the street behind a hedge.
The panel over the door is carved with a charming scene of a seabird flying over a shoreline, the sun on the horizon lighting the clouds from below. A sailing boat scuds over the water.
The words 'Time Trieth Troth' appear in the sky. This old proverb (listed by Heywood in 1546) means that faith or loyalty is tested by the passage of time, and was used often to describe the plight of the Jacobites in their weary and fruitless wait for the return of the Stuarts.
Why it appears on the clock tower is something of a mystery. 'Time Trieth Troth' was a popular heraldic motto but the Stern family seems to have favoured 'Vincit perseverantia' ('Perseverance Conquers', a drearily uplifting sentiment).