Restoring the Chamberlain Clock

June 10, 2021 Uncategorized

The re-installation of the Chamberlain Clock which took place from 20th-21st March 2021


We recently had the privilege of completing an extensive restoration and reinstallation of the historic Chamberlain Clock in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The clock was built in 1903 in honour of Joseph Chamberlain, MP for the area in the late 1900s and one of its most respected figures. Made by Birmingham company W.F. Evans & Sons of Handsworth, it is an iconic local landmark.

The restoration of the Chamberlain Clock has been led by the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust. It was able to take place through funding provided by the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage Project (JQTH), a National Lottery Heritage Fund scheme and fundraising and contributions from the local business community through the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID)

The 16-metre-tall cast iron structure was dismantled on site by four members of our team. It was then loaded and transported on two lorries back to our Derby workshop for a full restoration. The main structure was stripped down into the four main sections and then into its great many individual parts.

The restoration began with the paint being completely stripped back using non-abrasive blasting, leaving the bare metal exposed. A zinc rich base coat was then applied to prevent rusting and ensure longevity of the new top coat of paint. An analysis of the original paint was carried out so the new colour could be matched exactly to it. The new colour was then signed off by the client. The top coating of paint was baked at 80 degrees centigrade to ensure a hard and long-lasting finish. All features were gilded by hand in 23½ carat double thickness English gold leaf.

The feature lanterns were treated in the same restoration method as the main structure with the gallows brackets being detached, stripped down and painted. The lanterns were re-glazed with clear curved glass. We always strive to maintain the integrity and heritage of the original design but offer environmentally thoughtful and up to date technology alongside this, which also lowers running costs. In the case of the Chamberlain, the lanterns were fitted with modern LED screw bulbs while keeping the heritage appearance to the outside. The four clock dials have been modernised in the same way and backlit with LED tubes, these have a far greater life expectancy than fluorescent ones. An electromagnetic hammer was installed to the original bronze bell for the striking on the hour.

About the author

Rachael Inglis: