G&F Cope & Co Ltd
Founded in 1845
The first Cope clocks were made in Nottingham when the brothers, George and Francis Cope, took over the turret clock business of Rueben Bosworth, and established their factory in Holden Street, Nottingham, in 1845.
The brothers were joined by their young nephew, William Cope, who came to them from Dewsbury in Yorkshire in 1877.
On the death of his uncles, William Cope became the sole proprietor of the business. He maintained the highest standards with a progressive business policy; he was one of the first to install electric motors to replace the steam engine, and was amongst the first Nottingham businessmen to have a telephone in his office.
William’s, son, William W Cope, learnt the craft under his father’s guidance and took over the business after his father’s untimely death in 1922.
Many large and outstanding clocks were made by the firm in the Holden Street works, including, in 1928, the magnificent clock for the dome surmounting Nottingham’s Council House. Its chimes, sounding on bells weighing 16½ tons, are probably the finest Westminster quarters in the world.
During the Second World War, the manufacturing business concentrated on supporting the war effort, making clocks and cases for the Admiralty, high precision timer mechanisms and grenade striking pins.
William W Cope had two sons, William David and John Richard (known as David and Richard respectively). The elder son, David, joined his father in the clockmaking side of the business, whilst the youngest son, Richard, decided to direct his attention to the retail side of the business and eventually became managing director and was responsible for the running of the retail shops.
During Second World War, the manufacturing business concentrated on supporting the war effort, making marine clocks and cases for the Admiralty.
David Cope was very much the engineer clockmaker and has been involved in the building of very many fine clocks, not only in this country but around the world. The marine clockmaking side of the business of G & Cope Ltd was acquired by Smith of Derby Ltd in 1984 and moved into the premises at St Helen’s Street, Derby. David Cope managed the business until his retirement in 1995.