Beautifying societies, which were voluntary groups concerned with improving the urban environment, first appeared in the late 19th century. Some cast their net over whole cities and towns, while others concentrated on smaller areas. The Christchurch Beautifying Society, started in 1897 and still active in 2009, is one of the longest-lived. In tandem with retailing firm Calder Mackay, the society gifted a floral clock to the people of Christchurch in 1955. The clock is 8.2 metres in diameter, and is sited in Victoria Square. It requires approximately 14,000 new plants each year to keep it in bloom.
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Photograph by G. R. Roberts
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