Posted on 28 May, 2012
It’s the symbol of Guildford – the Guildhall clock projecting over the High Street. But few know exactly how this ancient timepiece works, or that modern technology is now being used in a bid to keep it ticking ’24/7′.
Stories have been circulating over the past few weeks that the old clock is not keeping time and that it’s something to do with it now being ‘automated’.
David Rose of St Catherine’s Village was concerned and decided to investigate. He has written about his findings and published them on the community web site.
Jill Draper, Heritage Manager, Economic Development for Guildford Borough Council is delighted and has directed a few people to it after they’ve complained about the clock being wrong. Jill said “It makes all the difference when they can read about the situation and I think they find it fascinating when they see the photos of the mechanism and hear about the winding”.
For many years the clock has been serviced and cared for by Smith of Derby – a firm who has been in business for over 150 years, and who in recent years has added an increasing number of automated systems to the clocks it services.
The clock mechanism in the Guildhall is old (although beautifully made – some original blacksmith hammer marks are still discernible) and a few problems with timekeeping have been occurring for years. Nick Booth of Guildford Museum has been keeping an eye on the clock mechanism since the autowind system was installed and has been working with engineers from Smith of Derby to iron out a few teething problems.
Nick added: “We have had to allow a period of time for the autowind system to settle down. Smith of Derby, with their special knowledge of this clock, has been very helpful.
So, when you are checking your digital battery-powered watch against the Guildhall clock, bear in mind that if it is a few minutes out, it’s down to its long history. It’s lasted a lot lot longer than the timepiece on your wrist ever will, and, with the care it is getting, will continue to do so.
To read the full article click here.
For more information on Smith of Derby autowinding click here.
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