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After an apprenticeship to a Darlington clockmaker, in 1833 William Potts, aged only 24, set up his own business which originally made domestic timepieces.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.


  1. I've never noticed any of Mr Potts' fine timepieces around here but now I shall make a point of looking - and will probably find them everywhere!

  2. I love old clocks. We have a 'schoolhouse' clock with a short pendulum and its tick is like the heartbeat of the house.

    1. That's lovely Vicki. 'The heartbeat of the house' - that reminds me of quiet afternoons with my grandparents, hearing their clock ticking, the fire logs shifting, the newspapers rustling. It makes me feel peaceful and safe just remembering.

  3. It is a very fine and simple clock. Like Vicki, I have an old schoolhouse clock in West Hartford, but most of the time I forget to wind it. But, in the living room there is a tall case clock ("grandfather clock") and a mantel clock, and I do remember to wind them.

  4. Hi, let me send you an example that survive in our times, it is out of use, but keeping the original pattern.
    Regards, Pablo. from Buenos Aires.


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