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    August 2022
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    Noah’s Ark Automaton Clock in Inverness

    Indeed Mairiuna, the beautiful automaton clock that we had the privilege to view inside the Eastgate Shopping Centre depicting Noah’s Ark provide a special moment that all, adults and childrens, enjoy. It moves into action at noon sharp every day. On each hour the clock diorama also plays an animal themed song and a single set of doors open to show pictures of the animal associated with the song. Each hour a monkey is seen raising up a tree and chiming a bell in order to tell the hour.

    Automaton Eastgate Shopping Centre


    As Wikipedia mentions, clocks like these were built from the 1st century BC through to Victorian times in Europe. The clock is one of only six of its kind in the UK.  A Cuckoo clock is a simple form of this type of clock.

    We are grateful to Aaron Ramsay to have shot the video below as we came too late to the site to see it in action! Check it out. It is simply delightful 🙂

    This is the big clock in the Eastgate centre in Inverness, as loved by my little daughter.

    To this end, I was compelled to take her into to see and record the entire 12 o’clock show,

    so that she could watch it over and over again (and she does!).

    This automaton reminds me of a story written by Brian Selznick, about an orphan named Hugo that fixes clocks in the train station in Paris, while trying to repair an automaton his father was working on when he died. Hugo uncovers a mystery and gains a new family….




    When Hugo’s father died, his uncle takes him to the train station to live and teaches him how to fix the clocks. The uncle disappears, and Hugo keeps the clocks running. Hugo decides to leave the station and stumbles upon the burnt museum where his father died in the fire while working on the automaton. Hugo takes the automaton to the station to fix it, in hopes that it will write a message from his father… Wikipedia

    … In the words of an 8 year old 🙂

    In the words of my 8 yr. old: “The book was really interesting and the invention Hugo found was pretty neat. This is one of my favorite books because it was a great story and I liked the pictures which helped tell the story. I have told the kids in my class at school to read it and 4 of them did! It’s a really great book!”




    The food court in the adjacent Falcon Mall is where we can see The Falcon’s Return, a statue depicting James IV of Scotland holding a falcon as James IV was one of Scotland’s renowned falconers. The statue also celebrates the name of the Falcon Ironworks that originally stood on the site of the Eastgate expansion, which gave its name to Falcon Square.

    James IV Falcon Statue Esatgate Shopping Canter Inverness Scotland - Photo by Hong Yong Lim

    Photo credit to Hong Yong Lim on Flicker

    The sculpture was created by local artist Leonie Gibbs. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was present at the unveiling ceremony, and she and Gibbs are cousins.


    By the way… had no success with my research about the creator of the Eastgate Shopping centre automaton. Would anyone have a clue? If so, kindly let us know in the comments below. It would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    Until next, take care and all the very best,


    PS: as you must know by now, I’m a fervent admirer of everything related to unicorns. And guess what? There is a beautiful bronze one located in Falcon Square with 4 bronze sundails, 4 falcons circling around it and a rearing Scottish unicorn on top.


    This thirty-seven foot high sandstone pillar in the middle of the new square is topped by a bronze unicorn, and circled by a swooping falcon in various stages of its flight. It is seen catching its prey at its lowest point (see last image, below). The monument was designed by the artist and sculptor Gerald Laing (1826-2011), who had once set up a foundry himself. One of his sons had later set up the Black Isle Bronze Foundry in Nairn. It is an imaginative and impressive tribute — to Falconer himself, to the city’s industrial past, and to the expertise of iron-founders. Unveiled in 2003, it is much bigger and more noticeable than the old Mercat Cross, with its more staid heraldic unicorn carved by Andrew Davidson.

    Photographs, captions and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee.



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    3 comments to Noah’s Ark Automaton Clock in Inverness

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