Saturday, 30 November 2013

Oxford Street (Londonopoly #2)

Back on the 4th August I published a posting on Bond Street, London, suggesting that it could be a start of a series based on the Monopoly (trademark etc) board. So here at long last is part 2 of a series that I am calling Londonopoly (for no other reason that I can't be bothered to think up a better name and I don't want the hassle of keep on saying that Monopoly is a trademark registered to Waddingtons or whoever in the UK and undoubtedly someone else in other parts of the world).

So, I present Londonopoly #2 - Oxford Street

This is a journey from west to east. I am sure that an east to west journey would be just as good and you would see the same clocks (except that they would be in the reverse order).

Marks and Spencer's flagship store is at the junction with Orchard Street, with the name of the building clearly highlighted on its clock.

The building itself, as indicated by the inscription shown below, was opened in 1930.

Even grander, in fact the grandest store on Oxford Street and arguably the whole of London, is Selfridges. The shop was built in stages between 1909 and 1926, although you would never realise that today. To celebrate the 21st birthday of the store, the owners commissioned a clock. This was unveiled in October 1931 and sits above the main entrance.

The clock itself is quite impressive, but it would be lost amongst the massive fa├žade of the shop were it not for its supporting sculpture. This is the "Queen of Time" by Gilbert Bayes (1872 - 1953), thrusting out from the building on the prow of a ship.

There is a huge amount of detail on this sculpture, much of which is not captured here. The best thing to do is visit it yourself, although I would avoid going before Christmas unless you want to be swept away in a tide of increasingly desperate shoppers.

St Christopher's Place is a lovely shopping square hidden away behind Oxford Street and reached by a narrow alleyway which is easy to miss. To help you find the place, this clock helpfully points the way.

To the east of Oxford Circus lies the more mundane timepiece on the local branch of H Samuel (note that the M&S shop next door is a different one from the one with the clock described earlier).

The next clock is at 100 Oxford Street. I have passed this clock on numerous occasions over many years, yet the time has always been just after 2 o'clock.

Across the road is a clock at the English college. This has recently been repainted, although I am not sure if the clock is a replacement or not.

So only six clocks along the entire length of Oxford Street which is a rather poor show (it is after all about a mile long, and has four London Underground stations). At a price of £300 on the popular board game, this works out at £50 per clock.

Monday, 25 November 2013


This is a flying visit to Harrogate, so perhaps not a comprehensive survey of the clocks to be found in this North Yorkshire spa town.

No clocks at the railway station, so our first sighting is at the bus station just outside.

This is not a bad effort for a modern bus station, and I particularly like the ornamental curly bits. It is just a shame that the protective covering is going partially opaque.

Plunging into the town itself, we find this neat example at H Samuel jewellers on Cambridge Street.

Okay so it is not that exciting, but I think that its clean lines and simple design are pleasing on the eye. And in any case it is one up on Marks and Spencer next door which is often a good banker for a clock, but in Harrogate is sadly lacking.

From looking at this next clock, you will not be surprised that we are at the premises of Woods on Station Parade.

The history of Woods of Harrogate is neatly summarised in the plaque shown below.

I can't help feeling that something more imaginative could have been done with the way that the name is displayed - to my mind too much white space has been left.

Further along Station Parade is Waitrose. A totally different style of clock, but one that fits with the overall building.

It doesn't look so good in close up, but then again most people won't be taking a photograph of it with a zoom lens.

St John's church is on Victoria Avenue at its junction with Belford Road.


Its clock faces are in immaculate condition.


Just around the corner is an amazing tower which can be seen from several directions from different parts of the town.


This turns out to be the clock tower of Rogers' Almshouses in Belford Road.

Finally, time for a quick cup of tea. This building houses Betty's Tea Rooms, a business famed throughout Yorkshire.

Clock number seven, and the seventh that is showing the right time. Full marks to Harrogate for civic pride.

As I say, this was just a quick visit so I am sure there must be more clocks in the town. As ever, I would be glad to hear of any that I have missed.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

York (Part 7)

This is the final part of our tour of York, and wraps up all those clocks outside the city centre (and I would be pleased to hear of any I have missed for a revisit sometime in the future).

We start off in the west, at the Lloyds Pharmacy branch on York Road at its junction with Severus Avenue.

This poor clock has seen better days (not a good advert for a pharmacy), with its battered casing and bent hands.

And the completely different time shown on its other face is a giveaway sign that it is not in working condition.

The trip along this road was to visit Acomb School on Front Street. This now appears to be the Gateway Centre, with a new school located nearby in West Bank, but was originally opened as a primary school in 1894.

The clock is by Potts of Leeds, and also dates to 1894.

This is the parish church of Clifton (St Philip and St James) on Clifton, built in 1866/67.

The clock face is magnificent it its striking colours and well-maintained condition.

Another school and another Potts clock. This time we are at New Earswick school to the north of the city.

The clock was commissioned by Messrs Rowntree & Co (see below) and set going on 15 August 1912. (As so often I am indebted to the book  "Potts of Leeds - Five Generations of Clockmakers" by Michael S. Potts).

York is famous for chocolate, so it is time to visit the Rowntree factory (now part of Nestle) on Haxby Road. Two of the entrances have these isolated clocks mounted on columns. This is the northernmost of the two:

The southern clock is slightly different in design, with its inner and outer gold rings.

Both clocks have these panels on top of their housings, so I assume that they are solar powered.

Lets move to the south of the city now, and in particular to Bishopthorpe. This is another ex-school, and is now the Bish Street Kids nursery.

More importantly it has clocks on two of its walls.

The reason for the trip to Bishopthorpe is its palace, and especially its gatehouse.

The palace is the residence of the Archbishop of York, and the gatehouse was added in 1769.

The clock is by Potts of Leeds, and was manufactured in 1913. It replaced a clock dating to 1744 by Henry Hindley. It has recently been restored by Smiths of Derby, and set going again in March 2013. It certainly looks rather splendid.

More chocolate factories (surely there can never be enough of them), this time the Terry's factory along Bishopthorpe Road.

The factory was built in 1926, and produced such products as the chocolate apple (yes, I am familiar with the chocolate orange, but apparently a chocolate apple was produced between 1926 and 1954).

The factory closed in September 2005, and the site is being redeveloped, including the inevitable new housing. But it is nice to see the clock recognised in the promotional banner. Bet they took a long time to come up with that name!

Nearby is York racecourse. This has two clocks, the first by the local manufacturer Newey.

The second, and rather faded, clock is on the main grandstand.

And with that we say farewell to York and gallop off to pastures new.