The Clock Tower in Hastings Central Mall was completed in 1935 to restore a working clock chime to Hastings' city centre, and to enhance the beauty of an important area of the town. Designed by young local architect Sydney Chaplin, who won a national design competition in 1934, it was built at a cost of £1226. The Tower has two plaques containing the names of the 93 Hastings residents who died as a result of the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931.
The Clock Tower is considered to be one of Hastings' finest public landmarks and is a structure the city has taken pride in since its construction. As a symbol of Hastings' remarkable rejuvenation after the Hawke's Bay earthquake, and as a form of memorial to those who died in that event, it has importance to the local community.
The Tower is an excellent example of design from the mid-1930s. It is Art Deco in style, and modern in its simplicity and clarity of form. It is an appropriate landmark in Hastings, reflecting the architecture of the 1930s that predominates in the surrounding parts of the city's central business district, while retaining a distinction and individuality of its own. The clock, with its four faces, gives the structure a civic usefulness, and the chiming bells add a melodious aspect to its familiarity in the city. It is in good condition, and remarkably unaltered over its 70-year lifespan.