Saturday, 27 April 2013

City of London (3) - The Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange sits at what was the absolute financial heart of the City, on a site between Cornhill and Threadneedle Street, facing Mansion House and the Bank of England.

The building was designed by Sir William Tite, and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1844. It has the bonus for this blog of having three clocks. The first is on the clock tower at the eastern end of the site.

There are then two identical clocks on the main body of the building. Below is the one on Threadneedle Street, with the more modern financial district buildings (including Tower 42) in the background. This move to modern trading floors is reflected in the fact that the Royal Exchange is now inhabited by upmarket shops and restaurants following a major refurbishment in 2001.

The twin clock, on Cornhill, is shown below.

A sense of the immense size of the building is given in the photo below - the two clocks can just be made out. Behind the building is the "Cheesegrater" tower under construction.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Harrow (Revisited)

We last looked at Harrow in January 2012, when the haul of clock shots around the town centre was not that impressive - first prize went to the Tesco superstore which doesn't say much for Harrow's civic pride. This revisit takes in areas to the south and north of the town centre.

We started where we started last time, with this clock at Harrow-on-the-Hill station.

To the south lies the genteel splendours of Harrow school. The clock on the original school building looks suitably splendid, well-maintained and rather elegant in the Spring sunshine.

It is rather odd seeing groups of well-dressed and well-behaved students walking around on a Saturday lunchtime, and the atmosphere is in total contrast to the town centre just to the north.

This shop just along the road (High Street) has an equally splendid clock.

I love the blue, gold and white colours, and the curly, swirly bracket.

Note that the date on one face is 1946, and on the other is 1942.....

....this is probably explained by the plaque on the wall. My Latin is a little rusty (last heard used in the third form in 1980 - whatever happened to Mrs Lishman?), so I tried the modern technology that is on-line translation.

Google helpfully translates the above as "This year at the clock by an entertainment. In this hill of income and not forgetting so many beneficiurum...", so perhaps my attempts at Latin translation all those years ago weren't so bad after all.

Moving swiftly along the High Street, I espied this clock through the sea of Union Flag bunting.

Just a hunch, but I think that this building was once a fire station.

Ah yes, confirmation of my detective skills:

From the upmarket and quiet environs of Harrow on the Hill High Street to the more down-to-earth and bustly Harrow that morphs into Wealdstone. Hence we are now at Harrow & Wealdstone station.

The clock tower forms part of the 1912 station buildings on the north side (the south side buildings are much older).

The entrance hall below the clock tower is a throw back to how stations used to be, with wood panelling and small ticket windows.

This is complete with this lovely clock, although the effect is somewhat ruined when you consider that this picture was taken at about 1.20pm. Perhaps Harrow and Wealdstone both have their own time zones and this is the only building (well it is Harrow & Wealdstone station) that is allowed to show both local times. Ok, maybe not.

Further north on High Street at its junction with Spencer Way is this magnificent clock -bearing structure, tastefully used as a traffic island.

This is the Wealdstone war memorial, dedicated to those who died in the First World War. It was unveiled on 11 November 1923. Further details, including all of those individuals commemorated, can be found on

And with that, it is goodbye to Harrow (unless you know of other clocks which would require me to make a third visit...)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

City of London (2) - St Olave Jewry

Our second point of call in the City of London is St Olave Jewry on Ironmonger Lane off Cheapside.

The alleyway down the side of the building in the photo below is narrow, and Ironmonger Lane itself is not all that much wider - this is one clock you could easily miss when walking around the City.

The church itself was build by Sir Christopher Wren in 1671 - 79. Since then the trees have grown a bit, and getting a clear shot of the clock is difficult - at least they were not in leaf I suppose.

The tower and west wall are all that remain of the church. Due to the declining population of the City, the building was largely replaced by offices in the 1890's, and these were rebuilt in 1981 - 87.

The date on the clock of 1824 means that it had about 70 years in religious service.