Iconic Guildford Clock restored

PUBLISHED: 12:24 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:18 16 June 2014


One of the most iconic time pieces in southern England, Guildford’s town clock has been preserved for future generations following a complete restoration.


The detailed work by specialist clockmakers Smith of Derby included stripping off and re-gilding the 23½ carat English gold leaf gilding and repairing parts of the mechanical clock movement, and will ensure that the 1683 clock will continue to run for decades to come.


The clock, which projects over Guildford High Street from the Guildhall and which has regularly appeared on television, has a traditional two train with recoil anchor escapement and has been serviced and cared for by Smith of Derby for a great many years.


Two clockmakers initially worked from scaffolding, which fully enclosed the clock, and they removed the clock hands, dials and all transmission equipment (bevel gears, con rods etc). Following removal of the dials and timber corner posts, it became evident that there was considerable rot underneath the paintwork and some of the scrollwork.


Daedalus Conservation also worked on this project and their woodworking craftsmen cut out and replaced the areas of concern, following which Smith of Derby clockmakers painted all the woodwork with exterior quality weatherproof gloss paint, including abrasion of all ironwork and application of anti-corrosive primer.


23½ carat English gold leaf was applied by hand and is double thickness, which means that the lustre should last for another 25 to 30 years, whilst the paintwork will last for generations.


The dials, hands and corner pieces were taken to Smith of Derby’s Derby workshops for factory restoration and the bevel gears that operate the dial motion works and the drive train leading back to the clock were also overhauled.


The restoration work was completed in time for the Freedom Parade in the town later this month.





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