Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Back in February of 2017 the longstanding timepiece on Railway Street in Chatham was removed as part of Medway Council's plan to de-clutter the business district.  The dial was installed on October 21, 1994 to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson, who in 1805 achieved victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on a Chatham built ship. According to Lynn Cox (http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/sundial-supporters-want-it-put-123963/) at Kent Online, "Medway Council says the sundial is intact and in storage while its new location is decided....A council spokesman said: 'The sundial has been removed as part of our Chatham Place-Making works which involves de-cluttering the area and creating open spaces for pedestrians.' "  In another article by Kent Online, "A Medway Council spokesman said: 'This is all part of the Chatham placemaking project to improve the public realm and open up the route from the railway station through New Cut, St John's Square and Railway St and Military Road, down to the bus station.' "

It is not clear why the removal of the sundial, a visible attraction high above pedesterian traffic on the south wall of  Wetherspoon's Thomas Waghorn pub degrades open space and impedes pedestrian traffic.  Does the Council consider this memorial mere clutter and a blank wall more esthetic?   Or perhaps looking at the sundial for the time is more wasteful than looking at one's smart phone. Perhaps removing the pub sign or eliminating the overhanging street lights would be more appropriate to clearing Railway Street of clutter.  It appears that the Council has followed Johanathan Swift with a modest proposal to remove the Lord Nelson memorial sundial.

Mr. Chrisopher Daniel, designer of the vertical declining gnomonic sundial points out that unless the dial is realigned slightly off south using the declination of the pub's wall, the dial will no longer keep accurate time nor point to the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Lynn Coxof Kent Online records Mr. Daniel saying, “Frankly, it totally beggars belief that such an historic and fully recorded and registered heritage asset as this can apparently be summarily dismantled and, this done without any researched consideration as to how and where it might be relocated and more importantly, how it might be repositioned so that it operates exactly as before. Sundials of this accuracy are scientific instruments which have been designed solely and uniquely for the exact latitude and longitude of the location of the dial plate and also for that plate’s accurate azimuth and elevation.”

We implore the Medway Council to restore the sundial that has accurately told time and date for 23 years.