Whitehurst wall clock, 1850

Whitehurst Derby wall clock - in bits!We have just had our Whitehurst clock back from conservation and it is now up on the wall in the Boyd Dawkins Study.  This clock has always been a bit of a mystery to us and has spent most of its recent past in bits in a box in the store.  It was donated to the museum in the 1960s alongside its wooden case.

We took the clock to restorer Michael Czajkowski  who took one look at it and told us that the clock was never intended to be cased.  It is a free hanging utilitarian clock made by Whitehurst III in about 1850.   These clocks are often called ‘hoop and spur’ clocks and were produced as reliable cheap clocks against the backdrop of rising competition from France and America.  Ours is an 8 day version but 30 hour versions were also made – I’m glad we have the 8 day version as winding the 30 hour one wouldn’t be very practical….

Michael, Ros & the Whitehurst clock

Michael, Ros & the Whitehurst clock

Although produced as a cheap clock it still would have been a valuable possession and Michael suggests the case was probably made by the original owner, to protect the swinging pendulum from children and/or cats. The case which is in the country style was made from pine wood but stained to resemble a more expensive hardwood.

We’ve decided to hang the clock as it was designed but the story of the case adds an interesting insight into the original owner’s life and concerns.

Ros hanging the clock in the Boyd Dawkins Study

Ros hanging the clock in the Boyd Dawkins Study


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