The British Railway Clock Specialist
It all started for me back in the 1970’s when visiting the newly commissioned National Railway Museum in York, I came across Collectors corner which was a small shop selling railway relics, I purchased a signal arm and that was the start of my railway relics collection.
Over the years I bought other signs especially enamel ones in the regional railway colours, I really liked the totem signs and in 1977 was able to purchase a Worcester Shrub Hill one for the princely sum of £5 ! I still collect this type of sign and am always looking to add to these.
I moved into my first house and dreamed of being able to get a original Railway clock, my first clock was a John Walker Southern Railway 12 inch fusee which had lain forgotten in the cellar of the former Moseley Railway museum, I was bitten by the bug !
My mechanical knowledge got the better of me so I taught myself how to repair the movements, the woodwork side didn’t present a problem as having a father who was a woodwork teacher a lot of his skills rubbed off on me.
The clocks shown below are mainly ones that are in my collection and are definitely not for sale, I hope this shows the variety of different styles of clocks that the railways adopted, whether a small fusee wall clock or a large weight driven regulator or a fine bracket clock, they are all British Railway clocks and no doubt could tell a story or two.
I have used the information from my Railway clock records to add some information in the descriptions, I hope you find this of interest and maybe give you ideas about owning an original railway clock.
8 inch mahogany cased fusee wall clock. A rare clock, with a segmented mahogany surround to the case. It was supplied to the joint line in the latter part of the 19th Century by Joyce of Whitchurch and spent it’s railway working life at Leebotwood Signal box, it has escaped any dial repainting as a lot of the clocks from this line were repainted after the Western Region took over and have rather plain BR-W written dials. Leebotwood was a station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford joint line (GWR & LNWR) between Craven Arms and Shrewsbury and was closed on the 9th June 1958, however the signal box remained open and was eventually closed on October 15th 1967.
14 inch dial Walnut cased drop dial fusee wall clock.
A rare and so far unique clock, with delicately carved Hop cone ears attached to a well proportioned Trunk case, the clock is made from walnut with veneers to the front.
It was supplied to the South Eastern Railway in the middle part of the 19th Century probably by John Carter of Tooley St & Cornhill St London who later became Mayor of London.
It spent it’s railway working life at one of the South Eastern Railway’s lonely outposts at Reading in use in the booking office. The Dial was repainted after 1948 by the Southern Railway and later British Railway’s Southern Region clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street, London.
This clock shows the quality that some of the railway companies demanded for their clocks.
This superb drop dial trunk clock was supplied to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1855 by William Wright of Tooley St London, it spent all of it’s railway working life at Sydenham signal box and was sold by British railways in December 1964 for scrap to Messer’s Goering of London, from here it was purchased by the gentleman I bought it from. The Dial was repainted by the Southern Railway and later British Railways Southern Region clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street, London post 1948.
Not many original William Wright clocks survive, let alone in this original condition, you can clearly make out where the round LBSC Railway enamel plate was, these plates are extremely rare and now some are being remanufactured, so make sure if you see a clock with one of these on you get it checked out by and expert !
Sydenham was a former London Brighton and South Coast Railway station in Kent on the line from New Cross to Norwood Junction.
12 inch dial carved Oak cased fusee wall clock. This impressive timepiece has very fine carving, a good quality English fusee movement with deadbeat escapement and maintaining power and unusual Maltese cross hands, the intricate nature of this clock can be attributed to its location being the Great Eastern Railway Sandringham Hotel Hunstanton which was frequented by Royalty especially Edward VII.
The clock dates from circa 1899 when the hotel was opened and the dial was repainted by the London and North Eastern Railway with the letters LNER probably just after the Grouping, but GER is still visible beneath this.
14inch dial Oak Chisel cased drop dial fusee wall clock.
This clock was supplied to the South Eastern Railway in the latter quarter of the 19th Century by Grimshaw and Baxter of London, it spent it’s railway working life firstly at Goudhurst Station Booking office and latterly at Godalming Station Booking office.
The Dial was repainted by the Southern Railway and later British Railways Southern Region clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street , London post 1948 and escaped the red 24 hour numerals because it was sold for scrap on the 23rd November 1964 to Messer’s Goering who were in London. Fortunately they didn’t scrap the clocks but according to the Gentleman I purchased another clock from they piled them in a big heap in a rather small yard and sold some from that pile !
Goudhurst was a former South Eastern Railway station in Kent on the line between Paddock Wood and Hawkhurst and was closed on 12th June 1961 (4 months before I was born ) and then the clock was transferred to Godalming which was a station in Surrey on the former London and South Western Railway line between Guildford and Petersfield. Circa 1880.
8 inch dial Mahogany cased fusee clock.
This clock was supplied to the London and South Western Railway ( LSWR ) in 1898 by John Walker of London at a cost of £2-12-6d, it spent most of it’s railway working life at Wool crossing box in Dorset and then was transferred to Exeter Central Station where it came under British railways Western region ownership on the 1st January 1963, it was lucky not to have had a BR-W repaint as it retains its original Southern Railway dial painting applied after the grouping in 1923 by the Southern Railway clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street , London. Circa 1880.
This clock is so far a unique example of this style of GWR clock, it was supplied by Kays of Worcester and this as well as GWR in block style lettering is clearly visible as ghosted dial writing. The drop of the case features an ornately carved kidney shaped lenticle surround through which is visible the rather unusual metal cylindrical pendulum bob. I would be interested if anyone out there has a similar clock as I have yet to see another one of his style. Circa 1870.
Oak cased 10 inch dial fusee wall clock.
This clock was supplied to the Newport, Godshill & St. Lawrence Railway probably in 1897 for the opening of the station by William Potts and sons of Leeds at a cost of £5, it spent all of it’s early railway working life on the Isle of Wight and was used at Whitwell Station waiting room, upon closure of this Station on the 15th September 1952, it made a short trip across the Solent and spent the rest of its Railway working life at Portsmouth & Southsea Parcels Office. The dial would have been repainted after the nationalisation in 1948 by the British Railways Southern Region clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street , London. Isle of Wight clocks are extremely rare as the Island only had around 80 clocks allocated. The Station at Whitwell is still standing and has been converted into tasteful Holiday accommodation click on the image of the clock for more details.
An extremely rare and desirable example of a very early GWR clock, the case is made out of rosewood veneered pine in the saltbox style and features ebony and brass inlays, the pendulum suspends from the top of the back box not the movement. There are only four of this type known to exist and all differ slightly in decoration, the dial has been rewritten circa 1930 and features the short lived screen printing process, the clock dates from around 1845.
An extremely rare clock as this is the only known example of this type, it was supplied circa 1870 by Ball & Son of Leicester to the Midland Railway and spent all of it’s life at Shustoke station.
It has a weight driven movement with anchor escapement and a seconds pendulum it also features a drive for a subsidiary dial which would have been located on the platform side of the wall the clock was mounted to, the case also retains it’s later LMS numberplate and has it’s original Ball & Son Leicester stamped key.
A standard Great Western drop dial trunk clock, this is one of the earlier examples supplied by Skarratt of Worcester who later became Kays who still operate a mail order catalogue business today. This type of clock was the most common type used by the GWR. Circa 1870.
I am always looking to add to my collection of these style clocks, especially different dial sizes i.e. 8 inch, 14 inch and 16 inch.
Teak cased 18 inch dial weight driven wall clock.
A large and attractive solid Teak cased wall mounted weight driven regulator that was supplied to the LBSCR in 1865 at a cost of £7-10-0d by Richard Webster of Cornhill St London it spent all of it’s railway working life at Bosham Station Platform.
The Dial was repainted by the Southern and later British Railways Southern Region clock contractor, John Walker of 1 South Molton Street , London post 1948. This type of clock was usually mounted externally hence the need for using Teak in the case construction, the movement has six spoked wheels, deadbeat escapement, Harrison’s maintaining power and a deal pendulum rod with a cast zinc cylindrical bob which is suspended from the backboard, this is a impressive clock standing 85 inches tall so can’t always fit the modern houses ceiling height !
Richard Webster of Cornhill supplied just over 350 clocks to the LBSCR between 1851 and 1878 and most can be recognised by the distinctive shape of the hour hand.