Friday, 7 March 2014
In times past
The exhibition I actually set out to see at Leeds Industrial Museum commemorates a renowned firm of clockmakers in Leeds, William Potts and Sons Ltd. After an apprenticeship to a Darlington clockmaker, in 1833 William Potts, aged only 24, set up his own business which originally made domestic timepieces. It expanded and became famous for making and installing public clocks in cathedrals, churches, town halls, schools, railway stations and businesses. There is hardly a town locally that doesn't have a Potts clock somewhere and it is claimed there are over 1600 in England and some abroad too. Queen Victoria awarded the firm a Royal Warrant in 1897 and the clock above, inscribed with her cipher, was probably made for an office or a school. (I'm sure we had one very similar in the hall in my first school.) There is even a "Potts Clocks" heritage trail around Leeds city centre, which takes you past some of the best examples in the city - the Grand Arcade, the Old Post Office and the Corn Exchange among them.