Saturday, 28 September 2013

Lincoln (Part 2)

Time to march back down the hill we climbed in Part 1.

The starting point is the Tower Hotel on Westgate. A fairly standard modern clock, but quite attractive in the context of the whole hotel sign.

More widely known than the Tower Hotel, and on a ever so slightly grander scale is Lincoln Cathedral. This is truly an amazing piece of architecture, both outside and in, and is one of the few buildings that can accurately be described as awe-inspiring.

Inside the cathedral is this splendid example.

Moving down Lindum Road (having passed through Pottergate, which I am reliably informed is not a scandal involving a boy wizard) we pass the modern building of Lincoln Minster School.

We are down now at the lower town level, and more precisely at the junction of Clasket Gate and Broadgate. It is rather odd having a clock in an otherwise blank brick wall, but at least it tells you the time as you approach the city centre from the north.

You can see this next example from many points in Lincoln. From a distance you can't tell whether it has panels covering where the faces used to be or if the faces are very dirty. This by the way is what used to be the Wesleyan Schools in Rosemary Lane, erected in 1859.

Up close you actually find that the clock face has been painted on and is now somewhat faded.

The modern Waterside Shopping Centre has its own pastiche of the small towers on the surrounding older buildings. You can see that the idea was good, but one that was executed in a half-hearted sort of way. But the architects have included a traditional clock, with a rather pleasant surround.

Out now to the west of the city centre, to Holmes Road. I'm no detective, but the clock seems suspiciously similar from the Tower Hotel.

Onwards to St Mary's Street, and the premises or Eric A Bird (his full name I assume, and not a description of Eric, although an avian shopkeeper would be quite impressive). Not really a public clock, but more of a clock placed in a window. But it has a form of permanence and therefore merits its inclusion in this survey.

And finally to the railway station (which at the end of the platforms has a level crossing over the High Street - quite an unusual arrangement these days). The station has an identical clock on each of its two main platforms (and none on any of the others!).

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Open House London

Today was Open House London (as is tomorrow) when hundreds of buildings across the capital are thrown open to the public. Visiting just a few of them presented the opportunity to take some photos of clocks, many of which would not normally be in public view. The buildings were visited for their architectural interest rather than specifically for their clocks.

First stop was One Canada Square in Canary Wharf - great views from the 39th floor, but not a single decent clock inside (although see my posting of 1st June 2013 for clocks in the area). Next stop was HM Treasury. Only this bog-standard modern design was on view:

Our next calling point is the UK Supreme Court in Parliament Square. Whilst in the queue you can easily see the clocks of two of the most well-known buildings in London - the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (if you need any further information on these buildings I am sure you will be able to find the odd snippet on the internet!).

The Supreme Court building was originally the Middlesex Guildhall, opened in 1913. It was reopened as the home of the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 2009.

Below is the clock in the Library (and no, I don't know why its glass door is open, but perhaps it was to keep adjusting the hands which were clearly not showing the right time).

Court Room 2 has a totally different style of timepiece.

The face is in Welsh slate and was designed by Richard Kindersley. A splendid looking clock, and one of the few in the building showing the right time. Perhaps functionality follows design.

A couple more examples in the building:

And then finally on to Court Room 3, and a lovely clock in wood.

Onwards to St Columba's in Pont Street, Knightsbridge. This Church of Scotland building replaces a Victorian one of 1884 that was destroyed during the blitz in 1941.

Building of the new church began in 1950, and was completed in 1955. The architecture was Sir Edward Maufe, and he achieved a simple but elegant design (internal and external) in concrete. The main church space on the first floor is awe-inspiring by its plain elegance.

The clock mechanism, by Gents of Leicester, can be viewed as you ascend the tower (by nice solid and wide concrete steps, not the rickety and tight wooden ones found in many churches).

And on the floor below is another Gents clock.

Last port of call (a highly appropriate term in this case) is Custom House, built to collect all the duties from the Port of London. The building dates from 1817, but was rebuilt in 1825 due to structural faults.

The Long Room measures 50 metres by 19 metres, and is 16 metres high (so is generally big as well as being long).

On the river-facing long side is this clock:

...whilst there is a much smaller timepiece on each of the shorter walls.

Opposite the main clock, and by the same manufacturer, is this weather vane repeater which is linked to the actual vane on the roof, and in the days of sailing ships gave usual information to those working in the building.

Outside, there is a main clock on the river-facing fa├žade.

And finally, thanks to Open-City ( who organise this fantastic event very year, and to the helpful and friendly staff and volunteers in each of the buildings visited.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Lincoln (Part 1)

For an historic city, there are surprisingly few clocks in Lincoln. But there are always clocks to be found if you look hard enough.

Let's start our tour at the south end of High Street (which incidentally follows the approximate route of Fosse Way, the Roman road of 60 -  90 AD).

St Botolph by Bargate is the first point of call. The church was founded in the late 12th century, but was comprehensively rebuilt in 1721 and again in 1878.

The clock is fairly standard, and indeed lacks the central patterned segment that many others have.

Jonathan Whiting Funeral Directors is actually in Queen Street, but the premises can be seen from High Street. And whilst taking the pictures you get strange looks from the clientele of The Golden Cross pub on the main road.

Another church, this time St Peter at Gowts (Gowts being the local watercourse). Originally dating from the 11th century, the building underwent major restoration and alterations in 1852 and 1887.

Whilst it has one up on its neighbour St Botolph by Bargate by virtue of having a nicer looking clock, it loses points by the fact that it is a non-functioning timepiece.

If you are "fanatical about kebabs" then you need to get yourself along to Topkapi a little bit further up High Street.

The timepiece is what I call an adornment clock - not a proper structural one or a mounted one that is site specific. But a clock is a clock, and so it is included here.

The third church on our tour is St Mary le Wigford. This is originally 11th century with 12th and 13th century additions, restored in 1872 and with later additions in 1877 and 1975. Truly a building that has developed over time.


Another building with a long history is the Stonebow, where High Street meets Guildhall Street.

The arch dates from 1520, whilst the clock is a much later addition of 1889 (although replacing an earlier one from 1835) by Potts of Leeds.

High Street turns into Steep Hill, a highly appropriate name for a road that takes you from the lower part of the city at 20 metres above sea level to the upper part at 73 metres.

Our first resting point on the ascent is that this "adornment" clock.

I was rather disappointed by Timepiece Repairs further up Steep Hill at number 43. Given the name, you might expect a pristine, fully functioning clock adorning the building, but what you get instead is this (albeit detailed) picture of a clock.

This is however a serious clock shop undertaking repairs and is only open on Saturdays, so perhaps it can be forgiven.

A bit out of puff after the ascent of Steep Hill, we arrive at the White Hart Hotel, with this splendid clock.

Staying with the hotel theme, our final stop on Part 1 of the Lincoln tour is the Duke William Hotel in Bailgate.

Part 2 will take us back down the hill......