Monday, 25 May 2015


By the splendid delights of the Manchester tram system to Oldham. And to the not quite so splendid delights of this odd looking and somewhat worn clock tower.

Despite its unusual appearance, its location high up on the building on a road junction, with large clear dials, makes it a highly effective timepiece. Or what do if the clock was working.

But at least you have the choice of time, depending on which face you look at.

The building is a snooker and pool club (although I am not sure if it is still open) on Union Street, but I assumed surely must have been a cinema originally. Further research shows that it was the Gaumont Cinema which was closed in 1961, but has had later reincarnations as a bowling alley, night club, snooker hall and, since 2011, a roller derby venue. So a useful local venue, but just a shame the exterior looks so awful.

Further up Union Street is The Centre.


And even further along are the offices of the Oldham Evening Chronicle.

What I have just realised is that Union Street is quire special in that it has three clocks, all of which are of the simple dashed-clock face design rather than the more common Roman and Arabic numerals. Union Street might just well be Unique Street in the world of clock bloggers (admittedly not the largest world in the universe).

The Oldham Evening Chronicle newspaper itself started out as the Oldham Chronicle on 6 May 1854.

Back to the world of Roman numerals. This is the church of St Mary with St Peter. As so often is the case, the church has a very long history, but the current building design dates from 1830.

On to Tommyfield Market.

The market was founded in 1788 on land owned by Thomas Whittaker, hence the name. The subsequent market hall was burned down in 1974, and the replacement building dates from the 1990s.

The market covers the site of what is claimed to be the first chip shop, opened in about 1860. There is apparently a plaque on the wall in the market all, although I didn't see it myself.

And finally on to the bus station. The original new bus station was opened in 2001 and is fitted out with several identical clocks.

An addition to the bus station, on a separate piece of land, was opened in September 2006. The seeds from the main site must have blown across, as the same clocks have sprung up here.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


I must admit I don't know where Acton actually starts and finishes, probably not helped by all the different stations (Acton Central, South Acton, Acton Town, Acton Mainline, East Acton, North Acton, West Acton).

So potential apologies to large parts of Acton, but today's primary destination is Acton Town Hall.

And the starting point is Acton Town station. Which has two designs of clocks - a rather plain one on platforms 3 /4 (as in 3 and 4, rather than a nod to Harry Potter)....

....and a more ornate design on platforms 1 / 2.

Incidentally, and adding to my geographic confusion, Acton Town station was originally called Mill Hill Park when in opened in 1879.

To get to the town hall now requires a walk up Gunnersbury Lane and on to the High Street. Whereupon we find St Mary's church.

And so on to our main destination, Acton Town Hall.

The town hall was officially opened on 10 March 1910, but was subsequently extended with a second opening in 1939, as recorded on the building:

Other than that I couldn't find much else about the building.

I love the pineapple on the top of the clock tower.


Monday, 4 May 2015


Waiting at Willesden Junction the other week to change trains en route to Clapham Junction, I saw one of the exit signs pointed to Harlesden town centre. Which reminded me that I had yet to visit the clock tower there.

So here we are.

The clock sits on a widened pedestrian area as part of a town centre enhancement scheme. A search of the local papers shows that it was temporarily removed in 2014, and formally unveiled again on 14 February 2015.

Controversially the clock has been moved from a traffic island to a new position, although it has been pointed out that the distance moved is all of 5 metres. And it certainly looks like it is in a safer place now, away from buses and other large vehicles. Digging deeper, this is also not the first time that it has been moved, with a 3 metre journey back in 1938. This clock just can't keep still.

It does look good in its new location, and has been thoroughly restored.


The Harlesden clock is one of the many to be erected in honour of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. However, despite the information at the base of the column, the clock was not erected until 1888.

So, are there any other clocks in Harlesden? Well yes, but not many. I could only find three others. First is the church of St Margaret and St George on Craven Park Road. I nearly missed this one as the clock is not visible on the main frontage.

Instead, it is on the north-facing side of the building.

Clock number three is on the Tesco Metro shop in the grandly named Harlesden Plaza.

And clock number four is on the Newman Catholic College on Harlesden Road.

And that is all I could find.