Saturday, 11 August 2012


Taking the Central Line eastwards, out past Stratford where there appears to be some kind of big sports day going on, to Wanstead.

Not many clocks today, but the first is at Wanstead station, a design common across the Underground network. This one is in the small booking hall area, above the escalators.

South of the station, in Overton Drive, is the church of St Mary the Virgin.

The current building dates from 1790.

Turning back northwards, and on to Wanstead High Street, where we find this clock on the offices of Churchill Estates.

Unfortunately this is a somewhat worn-looking clock, and one that is no longer working.

At the top end of the High Street is Snaresbrook station on another branch of the Central Line. Dashing to catch a train back to the city centre I just had time to take this picture of the clock on the down platform.

And finally, nothing to do with clocks (except perhaps in a much wider astrological sense) is the reason for my visit to Wanstead. This is Sacrilege 2012 by Jeremy Deller on its tour round the country. An inflatable Stonehenge - totally bonkers, totally British, and totally brilliant!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Leeds (Part 7: West)

The seventh and final instalment from Leeds.

First up is Leeds prison (HMP Leeds) on Armley Road. The clock is on top of the gatehouse. You always feel nervous about taking photographs in such places as there is the sense that you will be accosted by armed guards. Luckily no such problems this time.

Further along Armley Road is what is now known as Tower Court. This impressive building is what was once the Armley Board School, known locally as The Clock School for obvious reasons.

The clock is another product of the Potts factory of 1878.

Across the road from Tower Court is Armley itself, and this incredible library building. Having already come across several libraries in Leeds that are no longer libraries, it is good to find one with a clock that still is!

Both the building and the clock (yet another Potts product) date from 1901.

A move across to the parallel Kirkstall Road now, and to Queensbury Jewellers. Full marks to them for having a clock on what is clearly a much newer building than the ones we have just seen. As a jewellers there is also a much greater pressure for the clock to be working properly - luckily I can report that it was showing the correct time.

Just off Kirkstall Road is Bankfield Terrace, which was the home of Potts clocks from 1928. The William Potts Clockmakers timepiece is still there, but sadly at the time of my visit was obscured by scaffolding.

Staying off the main road and doubling back to the main road you can find the church of St Matthias, with its fairly standard clock.

Doubling back again on the way to Burley Park railway station to save my feet from the walk back to the city centre, I came across this clock on Cardigan Lane. It is unusual to see a clock like this on what is clearly a modern housing development on a quiet side road (opposite the housing is a recreation ground).

The development is called Abbots Mews, so I am guessing that the clock may have been taken from some form of religious building that was originally on the site (do any Leeds historians know the answer to this?)

And so we reach the end of the clock hunting trip to Leeds. In the seven postings I have covered 66 clocks (disappointingly many were not working), one that was covered up, and one that wasn't there! An impressive number for one city, and I know there are others that I didn't get a chance to see.

But it is time to say goodbye to Leeds for now.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Leeds (Part 6: North -West)

Breaking out of the inner ring road, and heading north-west:

First stop on Woodhouse Lane is the former Blenheim Baptist Chapel of 1858, although the records show that the clock is another Potts (recognise the pattern on the face by now?) of 1898.

Just up the road is the imposing site of the Parkinson Building. Faced in Portland stone, the tower is a landmark that can be seen for miles around. The building forms part of Leeds University, opening in this role in 1951 having spent the war years in national service.

Further up Woodhouse Lane is The Library pub

Another familiar face / dial - a Potts clock of 1901. And a good start to this trip with three working clocks in a row.

No prizes for guessing that it was not originally built as a pub. It was once a library and police station, with some clear physical evidence remaining of its former use.

Deviating off Woodhouse Lane, the disused St Mark's church can be found on St Mark's Road.

And not far away (although it can be seen from a long way off) is Quarry Mount School. They certainly don't build clock towers like this on schools any more.

The clock is another Potts product (well they are Potts of Leeds) of 1884.

The next stop is unfortunately a clock that is no longer. This is rather ironic given the name of the premises, but perhaps it has merely been taken away for repair. Any news on this would be welcomed.

And so on to Devonshire Hall, located on Cumberland Road off the main road (which has now changed from Woodhouse Lane into Headingley Lane).

This group of buildings of various vintages are halls of residence for Leeds University. The clock tower itself dates from 1928, with a Potts clock installed in 1930.

Staying on the education theme, the Leeds Girls' High School moved to a site on the opposite side of Headingley Lane in 1905/06, but now seems to moved on again. The buildings are in a derelict state. A big thank you to the security guards who were happy to let me on to the site to take a picture of this rather sorry looking clock.

A bit further up Headingley Lane is the remarkable Hinsley Hall of 1867. This is a Roman Catholic Diocesan office and education centre, with a rather odd but truly wonderful clock tower.

And a little further up the road (the A660 Woodhouse Lane / Headingley Lane has turned out to be fertile ground for clock hunting) is the church of St Michael.

It is now time to swing off the main road into Kirkstall Road to go past Headingley stadium, home of both cricket and rugby. The cricket ground has this quite simple clock dedicated to Dickie Bird.

And finally on to St Stephen's. The church has a rather outsized clockface, but because it is now surrounded by mature trees you can only tell that there is a clock there at all when you are close and and directly facing it.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Leeds (Part 5: North-East)

A trip from the city centre to Chapel Allerton and back.

First port of call is St James's Hospital ("Jimmy's") on Beckett Street. The chapel building in the hospital grounds has this ornate tower. The hospital complex was built in 1858-62, although the "Potts of Leeds" book dates the clock from 1886.

I do like the simple but rather pretty and elegant surround to the clock.

Moving northwards we come to the Roundhay Road pharmacy. The simple design of the clock is clear and effective, which is probably what you need when you're not feeling very well. But in this case the clock itself needs to be given some pills or potions as it is unfortunately not working, despite appearing to be in good condition.

Not far away is the aptly named Clock Building. Originally the site of a building with a prominant clock, it was replaced by a cinema in 1938. The building now appears to have had a variety of commercial uses in recent years.

The main tower has a large clock face on each side. Sadly this clock is, like its pharmacy neighbour, also stopped.

Curiously there is another clock (also stopped) on the curved front edge of the tower.

Almost due west on Chapeltown Road is this semi-derelict building. Orginally the Union Chapel of 1882, it for a while became a Sikh temple until a purpose built temple was constructed across the road.

The clock faces, all giving different times, show varying types of damage.

Northwards to Chapel Allerton itself, and this clock to be found on Harrogate Road. Although now largely used for commercial purposes, this building of 1904 was originally the police station, fire station and library, with only the latter remaining in use. Sadly this is our fourth building in a row with a non-functioning clock.

If you have walked all the way from the city centre it is definitely time for refreshments. I would recommend Crust and Crumb just a few doors away which serves excellent tea and cakes, and which has lovely staff who provided suggestions for other clocks in the area.

Once refreshed it is time to move north to St Matthew's in Wood Lane. The church, built 1897-99, has this open frame clock. At long last a clcok that is working and showing the correct time.

And now it's heading back south to the city centre. There are two buildings on what in effect is a large traffic island at the junction of Clay Pit Lane and Sheepscar Street. The northernmost, and most modern, of the two is Greenwich House of 1990. The high location of the clock, and being penned in by lanes of fast moving traffic, meant that it was difficult to get a decent photo.

Its southern neighbour is Northwood House. Although of different vintages, the clocks on both buildings had stopped. North-east Leeds is clearly not the place to venture without your own timepiece.

Close to the edge of the city centre on North Street are the premises of Thomas Green & Son Ltd. Yet another Potts clock, of 1923, and for a change in working order.

On a side road behind is this modern clcok tower on a local NHS facility, again in working order.

Which brings us back to the city centre, in time for the next posting covering the north-west.