New Smith of Derby clock built for its old home – now owned by award winning restaurant L’escargot bleu


Posted on 11 May, 2015



New Smith of Derby clock built for its old home – now owned by award winning restaurant L’escargot bleu. Just like the hands of a clock, what goes around comes around. So when we were called out to build a new clock for top Edinburgh restaurant L’escargot bleu, it was like stepping back in time.

It emerged that the restaurant is housed in the former home of James Ritchie & Son, a Smith of Derby company and now based in nearby Broxburn, and the clock they were replacing was a James Ritchie original that had stood there for decades.

Tony Charlesworth, Smith of Derby Technical Sales Engineer, said: “The former clock stood on the site for decades before it fell into disrepair so building a new one has been a labour of love as much as it is anything else. “It’s great also that the building is now used for such an excellent restaurant as obviously there is such a close link between time and meeting and eating out.”


James Ritchie & Son moved into the premises in Broughton St in 1965, having previously been based in Leith St. They left in 2006 and the clock came down at the same time.


L’escargot bleu, a popular bistro steeped in French culture and the finest Scottish produce, moved in in 2009, and chef proprietor Fred Berkmiller, who earlier this year won a prestigious AA Rosette for culinary excellence, said he wanted the clock to stand proud outside the building once more.


He said: “The clock was a feature of the building and it is something I have been keen to bring back as it’s a piece of beautiful architecture, it draws people towards it.

“For years I’ve wanted to give this iconic structure back to the locals of Edinburgh and it feels great to finally be able to give our locals exactly what they want”.


As our photographs show, clockmakers at James Ritchie & Son have been busy manufacturing the clock, which is due for installation in May.

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