Posts In: Traditional

Jubilee Clock Tower Restoration, Weymouth

August 28, 2018 Public, Traditional

As the summer draws to a close and Autumn gets closer, we look back at one of our most famous projects, which will have been seen by an unprecedented number of visitors during this record-breaking summer. The Jubilee Clock Tower, Weymouth. The Jubilee Clock tower is steeped in both history and tradition, standing on the esplanade of Weymouth, at the heart of the Dorset coastline. However, the clock originally stood closer to the beach before the esplanade was expanded and the clock tower was moved further back from the sand to protect it from the many weather fronts. The original…

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Community Clock Work, Northleach

August 21, 2018 Heritage, News, Public, Seasons, Time, Traditional

We were recently approached to restore the Cotswold Hall’s projecting clock, a timepiece which is a real focal point of the community. The clock, which overlooks the towns West End, was originally installed in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and has a distinctive crown on top of it The clock became abeyant following extremely heavy snowfall in the winter months, which led to further works to being discussed including a dial restoration as the timepiece was in poor condition. This is seen as a significant part of a vital community building which is used by many local groups…

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Clocks in the media

August 6, 2018 Church, Heritage, News, Public, Time, Traditional

The interest in both our clocks and clockmakers has been phenomenal of late, with some of our clockmakers feeling more like celebrities than craftsman! Stories have been run by several local BBC Radio shows, a local newspaper in the Scottish highlands and even a snippet on the local ITV news in Devon.  Whilst on a recent trip to the island of Jersey, clockmaker Paul Kilburn was maintaining clock at the Holy Trinity church when BBC Radio Jersey approached him for an interview. The interview explained Paul’s work at the church, and gave an overview of Smith of Derby. Not long after Paul…

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Automatic Clock-Winding for St Magnus Cathedral, Scotland

The St Magnus Cathedral clock has been hand wound for the last 100 years, following the installation of the clock in 1919. Smith of Derby were asked to add automatic clock-winding technology, meaning custodians and stonemasons will no longer have to wind this by hand. Originally a James Ritchie timepiece, we were delighted to be asked to carry out the adaptations to the clock at this famous Scottish Cathedral. Along with the automatic winding technology we installed, a pendulum regulator was also added. This ensures the clock will keep the perfect time as the regulator monitors the clock through a built…

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Our latest winding and timekeeping units are now museum pieces!

Automatic winding has been applied to tower clocks for over 100 years. Over that time the equipment has culminated in our current model – the AW10 system. Automatic winding can now be partnered with automatic timekeeping, using our PAR 100 unit. By careful setting of the pendulum speed and programmed pausing, it keeps the clock within precise time year-on-year. Power to both winding and timekeeping are powered via a single power supply control unit with battery backup, with low voltage supply to the working units. This enhances safety and guards against any problem caused by power failures. Winding and timekeeping…

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Conserving Public Time: stories behind the faces

There’s more behind a clock dial than meets the eye. All have subtle differences, more so in the mechanisms. And much like their buildings, when getting old clocks need more looking after. Since 1856, Smith of Derby has come to know thousands of public clocks quite intimately, whilst their new generation of clockmaking apprentices hone the skills essential to keep them ticking. Behind Smith’s name is a history of partnerships. William Potts of Leeds dates from 1833; James Ritchies clocks have graced Scotland’s landmarks since 1809, and J B Joyce began in Shropshire in 1690. Putting their years of experience…

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The Art of Time at the Royal Academy

May 24, 2018 Heritage, Public, Traditional

One of the latest London locations where we have restored timekeeping is The Royal Academy. We worked with John Sisk & Son on the newly refurbished Burlington Gardens towers. Each has a 1.7m diameter dial.    One dial is a conventional analogue clock, but the other is a wind indicator, with a pointer which is moved mechanically from the windvane above.   Whilst the wind-vane transmission was in good order and only required cleaning and lubrication, the vane itself was so weather-beaten that some parts had almost disappeared. Careful attention was paid to replicate these, particularly the finial which we…

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Mitchell Eaton is proud of his achievements

With good reason: Mitch holds the certificate that marks a key stage in his training at Smith of Derby. He has achieved Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture (Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering) along with City and Guilds Level 3 diploma and BTEC level 3 subsidiary diploma in the same subjects. His training will continue with coaching from our experienced team of clockmakers and hands-on experience. Mitch is passionate about the practical hands-on work that he does. And he is reliable, trustworthy and confident to work on his own – very important on service calls to clock towers near and far. He…

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Certified Safe

Today we received renewal our Safe Contractor Accreditation from Alcumus. Alcumus provides technology-led compliance risk management, certification and accreditation services, supporting both UK and International clients with their Testing, Inspection & Certification (TIC) and Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) strategies. Our accreditation covers all our safety critical work, which includes working at height, on scaffolding and using rope access. All our clockmakers are fully safety trained in these areas, as well as first aid and general heath and safety procedures. This is vital in our work with tower clocks. Access is often via steep stairs and ladders, and clock gears…

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Clocks all changed

March 29, 2018 Church, Heritage, News, Public, Time, Traditional

All has gone well with our clock altering visits. Matthew S finished the rounds in the South East at Richmond Town Hall: whilst at the other end of the UK (almost), Craig P moved time forward an hour at Leslie St. Marys Church in Fife.

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