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Descendent of Victorian steel magnate helping to restore Grade II clock tower in his honour

20 Jul 2021 3 minute read
John Summers Clock Tower in Deeside. Google Maps

The descendent of a Victorian steel magnate is helping to restore a landmark named in his honour after a chance meeting with the woman behind the project.

Charlotte Summers, the great-great-great-granddaughter was in Flintshire visiting her partner James’ family when they decided to go for a bike ride and see the Grade-II listed John Summers Clock Tower in Deeside.

While posing for a photo outside the building, Enbarr Foundation CIC director Vicki Roskams – who is spearheading reconstruction of the dilapidated site – offered to take a picture of the couple.

This resulted in Charlotte, who lives in London, has joining the Board  of the ‘Guardians’, an organisation working to bring the building back to life.

“It was a complete coincidence, a bizarre meeting that neither of us could believe was happening!” she said.

“I was aware of my family’s history in this area but knew nothing of the renovations and this amazing voluntary initiative, it was a huge surprise.

“James and I went for a bike ride and came home completely shocked and delighted to be a part of something so pivotal to the community, which is fantastic.”

Charlotte Summers and her partner James in front of the John Summers Clock Tower

Charlotte, a fully-qualified structural engineer and development manager, added: “Hopefully I can add value as a trustee and support the plans, engage with the architects and help in any way I can around the construction side.

“This is an incredible legacy for my great-great-great-grandfather, a site which is so connected to the area and bringing people together for the benefit of the community.

“Vicki and the Guardians are a huge inspiration and I look forward to being a part of the team.”

John Summers and Son was a 19th century steel and iron producer based on the land near the Dee Estuary, later the headquarters of Tata Steel.


Vicki Roskams added: “This project has always been about inclusivity, about knocking down barriers and demonstrating that anything is possible.

“To have a talented female engineer help me drive this campaign forward is just brilliant, and for her to be a descendant of John Summers is staggering.

“I still can’t believe it, and my eyes lit up when I discovered which career path Charlotte had chosen! Her input will be invaluable and just makes us even more determined to see this massive redevelopment through to the end.”

To support the project, email [email protected] or visit the Guardians of the Clock Tower Facebook page.

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2 years ago

Ah the grand ostentatious memorials to themselves that the wealthy love so much.

2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Agreed, but it’s also a fine Victorian building that should be preserved for the benefit of Deesiders. I don’t think they’re doing it for the greater glory of John Summers.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Found this. “With plans for a heritage skills centre and training, Vicki Roskams and the team behind this project are aiming to rediscover lost crafts and trades, which is vital for our communities.”

Fair enough. It looks like the community will benefit from it. Not sure I agree rediscovering lost crafts and trades is “vital” for the community. If they were vital, they wouldn’t be lost. That’s the nature of lost skills.

But it would still be fascinating to learn them.

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