Terharris Clock Comes Full Circle 

March 20, 2023 Traditional

Terharris Library Wall Clock Returns to Derby Works for Restoration

Currently in the Finishing Room we have the War Memorial Clock for Treharris Library in Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil – a clock we first made and fitted in 1933 – which has come in for repair and restoration, see photos. (3rd photo taken prior to restoration).⁠

In the ‘Smith of Derby: A Journey Through Time’ book of the company’s history, an anecdote is written conveying the difficulty of communication at the time in the 1930s, which references the very same Treharris clock.⁠

Chapter Five: On The Road⁠
“Remarkably complete documentation survives for the period 1929-1933 concerning the clockmakers who went out and about in Britain doing those jobs that had to be performed in situ. Travel was almost exclusively by train and passes were obtained by the firm from the main railways companies to simplify the problems of paying for tickets. ⁠

Eric Ladds has written that “Many of the clocks made during this period were installed by Jack Warden, so he has virtually got monuments to his prowess all over the British Isles… he saw the end of the era in which the last of the great church and public clocks were made and installed.”⁠

Men were away at least a week and usually longer covering prodigious distances. They stayed, usually in digs but sometimes in pubs, and communicated very formally with Will Haynes at the Derby factory almost daily by post or by telegram. ⁠

Telegrams were much more immediate for an instant message. In 1933, Jack Warden sent one from Treharris, Glamorganshire, ‘Send another pint Wilson’s copper solution stronger drum satisfactory – Warden’ an economical nine words, although on receipt there was a delay, for scrawled on the bottom in Mr Haynes’s writing is “Wilson’s preparing this; cannot let us have it until 9.30 tomorrow.” ⁠

Jack seems to have had a lot of trouble getting the components he required to this particular job, for two days after the delay over the copper solution he wired: ‘Plate not arrived Had it been sent – Warden’ to which Haynes added “WiredThornton”, and a day later, exasperatedly: No parcel nor letter what about plate wire reply – Warden.’⁠  Fortunately it wasn’t too long before the required parts arrived and Jack was able to set the clock off and running.

One of the joys of this job of ours is being a part of the ongoing life of these pieces of community history; working on the same time-pieces our forbearers worked on, and ensuring they continue to be markers of time for many more years to come.


About the author

Nicholas Whitworth: