Sunday, 8 July 2012

Leeds (Part 1: City Centre - Central)

The first of several postings on the clocks of Leeds, due to the sheer number of examples in the City. We start with the central part of the city centre. And what better way to start than with the fabulous shopping arcades and the magnificent clock in Thornton's Arcade.

The clock was installed when the arcade was built in 1877/78, and features characters from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe. The figures are by John Wormald Appleyard, and the clock itself by William Potts & Sons of Leeds. Potts were a major clock manufacturer, and further details can be found in the excellent book "Potts of Leeds - Five Generations of Clockmakers" by Michael S. Potts published in 2006.

Nearby is the Queen's Arcade, this time with a clock signposting the arcade from the outside. Another Potts clock installed in 1890, this originally had a 5 feet diameter drum which was subsequently reduced in 1957 (and a Pattern 6 clockface if I'm not mistaken).

A few doors away on Briggate is the branch of Marks and Spencer. The plaque attached to the store explains the history behind the clock.

Also on the Briggate is another Potts clock, this time on what is now Harvey Nichols. Unfortunately it was running about three hours slow.

Still on Briggate is the branch of H Samuel. I assume their standard issue clock no longer works, and therefore the face has been covered up. I suppose it is better than leaving it to show to wrong time.

The nearby jewellers of Berry's on Albion Street and Owen and Robinson on Bond Street do somewhat better.

And I'm not sure if they are "making it special", but Beaverbrooks on Commercial Street at least have a fully functioning timepiece.

At the eastern side of the city centre is the bus station. Full marks to the security man who made sure that I did not take one step into the bus-only zone to get a better shot of the clock.

And finally back to the subject of Marks and Spencer, but this time to the clock in the Market Hall hat commemorates their original stall. (And full marks to the market for their colourful display for the Olympics).

Next stop will be the southern part of the city centre.

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