The History of Atkinson Clock Tower

The Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the oldest building still standing in the state of Sabah. Situated at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the Atkinson Clock Tower stands along Signal Hill Road. The beauty of this structure is that it is made with only wood and not using a single nail.
See more of the Atkinson Clock Tower and its history with MASWings to Kota Kinabalu Sabah and travel back in time.


Kota Kinabalu Sabah Atkinson Clock Tower

a far view of the Atkinson Clock Tower in Kota Kinabalu

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The Atkinson Clock Tower stands at a height of 50 feet and it is built only with wood. How did it hold itself together without a nail is a wonder. The clock tower was built in the memory of Jesselton’s first district officer, Francis George Atkinson, who died of Malaria in 1902. His mother, Mrs Mary Edith Atkinson then gave Jesselton town a gift which is a two-face clock as a tribute and memory of her son. They then decided that a clock tower would be built in his honor and the building process started on 20th April 1905.

The clock tower was built by using Mirabau wood and was financed by Atkinson’s friends. The building of the tower is probably built with additional funds acquired from ship builders who visited the city since the internal carpentry of the clock tower has all the different markings of the ship builders. On 19 April, 1905, the clock had already started running eventhough the tower was still under construction. The clock tower was completed in 1905.

The finished tower stands at 50 feet high and faces the town of Jesselton. The clock tower is lighted up during the night and was used as a landmark for sailors until 1950.

Sabah Atkinson Clock Tower

view of the Atkinson Clock Tower in Sabah

The clock tower went through a number of transformations over the years with repairs and renovations changing the overall appearance from how it should be. The dial and cog of the clock was damaged during the war after it got hit by bullets from a machine-gun. It was then repaired by Yick Ming Watch Dealers from Kota Kinabalu and they continue to maintain the clock up till today, a practice passed down from father to son.
The clock tower started to get its renovation during Jesselton’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1959. The clock tower’s wood was substituted with other hardwood and the roof timbers were taken off and replaced. The clock face was altered again in 1961 with the clock dial changed and the face replaced with translucent Perspex.

The Atkinson Clock Tower had survived a war and had gone through a number of changes throughout the years and eventhough it has changed a lot, it still stand tall and mighty watching over the citizens of Kota Kinabalu.

Atkinson Clock Tower Sabah

view of Atkinson Clock Tower

A landmark frozen in time waiting to be seen and admired by all those who come to Kota Kinabalu. Book your tickets at and get lost in time with the history of Atkinson Clock Tower.

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