Time ticks on: clock towers

Time does funny things in lockdown. On the one hand it seems to go on and on forever. On the other, because every day is much the same, it seems to flash by. Another difficulty is finding places to walk when we are confined to our local area: I never thought I would say I was sick of Glasgow’s West End, but I truly am! So little things make a difference, and I was delighted to read this tweet from Glasgow City Archives.

A follow up thread explained that when the factory was demolished in the mid-1990s to make way for new flats, the developers rescued the clock and incorporated the timepiece into the new building. Sutcliffe Road is within easy walking distance – a new destination! So off I went in the snow and ice and, sure enough, there is the clock.

This got me searching through my phone for unused images of other clock towers. I assembled quite a few. At the eastern end of Glasgow City Centre, we have the Tolbooth and St Andrews in the Square.

I’ve only recently found out why so many clock faces are blue with gold numbers and hands. Apparently it dates from a decree by Henry VIII that, following God’s command to Moses (Exodus 39) to make Aaron the priest “garments of blue with gold bells”, church clocks should be “blew with the signs upon them gilt”. Here’s another blue one, this time outside what is now the Tron Theatre on Trongate. You can just see the Tolbooth peeking out again in the first image.

Elsewhere in Glasgow is the new(ish) Clydeside Distillery, built in an old pumphouse with a modern glass extension. With the latter excluded, as in the second image, I think it looks more like an old monastery.

Moving to Govan, these shots of the old Southern General are taken from the top level of the multi-storey carpark for the new hospital, which you can see in the final image. Not so attractive (and no clock), but probably much more functional for the 21st century.

Moving out of Glasgow, here is the beautiful clock tower on Paisley Town Hall, complete with bells.

From our summer walks in East Dunbartonshire, here are Bishopbriggs Library and the derelict High Kirk of Campsie in Lennoxtown.

And last, but not of course least, to Edinburgh, where we finish at the Tolbooth Tavern. Sadly, like all pubs in Scotland, it’s currently closed so we can’t pop in for a pint. But cheers anyway! Tell me about your favourite clocks and time facts in the comments – or even do your own post!

64 Comments »

  1. At least living in a city, you have plenty of clocks to discover. The one you’ve captured in Winchester though, is just do handy for the people walking down that street. 🙂

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  2. Hi Anabel – fascinating historical fact about ‘old Henry – the 8th’ … loved the blue and gold info – I’d never known that … but had sort of wondered. Ever since I saw the Corpus clock in Cambridge I’ve always wanted to see it … it was designed and given by Dr John C Taylor – inaugurated by Stephen Hawking … it’s at street level. Perhaps I should write a post about it … one day I’ll get to Cambridge. Loved seeing all your clocks in that Scottish granite … all the best Hilary

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  3. Clock towers aren’t a “thing” here in New Zealand. In some areas of towns and cities that haven’t been touched hugely by developers still have them e.g. Gisborne, Dunedin, Invercargill to name a few and obviously the one Su mentioned at Auckland University. It was interesting to see your collection of photos.

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  4. Doh!, I’ve passed through Temple more than one thousand times, probably far more over several decades, but never knew about that building or clock. Usually Fulton Street, one street away, I travel down. Ironically, I know all the rest of the clocks , much further away than the one on my own doorstep. I know what you mean about the same local walks… not the same motivation when you are just repeating routes for months on end. Luckily that recent snow was a real gift from Heaven as for me it freed up new areas.previously out of bounds..

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  5. Lovely collection Anabel. I’m never happy with my clock tower photos; and I’ve taken a few. My favourite tower is the one at Auckland University; it’s quite beautiful and has great scope for exploring the interior. I really must take ONE good photo of it!!

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