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!

65 Comments »

  1. Good point, Anabel, how little things make a difference when I am taking the same route over and over again. Fascinating about blue with gold numbers and hands. Again, you make “history” interesting for me. I am sure we must have some older clocks in Victoria. I will keep a look out, especially next time I wander downtown.

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  2. We never really had a full on lock down here in Queensland, but we did have many weeks of restrictions and I have to agree with you. Even though we were hardly going anywhere the days seemed to fly by so fast. I remember seeing a wonderful clock in Rouen in France which told the time, days, seasons and what farmers should be planting. It was fascinating.

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  3. Love your selection of clock towers! I am quite partial to the clock tower on St. Pancras. And not exactly a clock tower, but there’s this total tourist trap attraction in Ohio’s Amish country that bills itself as the world’s largest cuckoo clock. I haven’t been since I was a kid, but I used to love it, probably mostly because there was a shop underneath that sold a massive selection of the American equivalent of pick n mix sweets, and my grandparents would always buy me a bag. I should probably go back as an adult at some point and blog about it!

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