Meet the man who’s been winding the church clock in Chertsey since 1972

PUBLISHED: 11:35 21 January 2020

Malcolm Loveday winding the clock at St Peter's Church, Chertsey

Malcolm Loveday winding the clock at St Peter's Church, Chertsey


Malcom Loveday has been winding the clock at St Peter’s Church, Chertsey since 1972 | Words: Simone Hellyer - Photos: Douglas Kurn

The lowdown: With the stroke of midnight on December 31 we entered into a new decade. But the passing of time is something that Malcolm Loveday has seen plenty of while winding the clock at St Peter's Church, Chertsey since 1972.

He says: "It's a mechanical weight-driven clock that was installed in 1892, costing £180. It has to be wound twice a week and we wind two of the trains with electric motors, but the third train is quicker to wind by hand and it keeps us fit too.

"I suppose over the years I have turned that handle about half a million times."

Malcolm has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of church clocks and bells and as a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society Turret Clock Group, has spent a lot of time travelling around the country looking at hundreds of turret clocks.

"A friend of mine introduced me to turret clocks when we were at university and I've been interested ever since. That's how I got involved when Big Ben broke in 1976 and ended up doing the failure investigation to find out what had gone wrong.

"As it happens, the weight had fallen down the shaft, with bits of clock breaking off, but initially they thought it had been blown up by the IRA," Malcolm says.

As well as being Chertsey's resident clock expert, Malcolm has also been Tower Captain at St Peter's Church since 1972. "I lead the band of bell ringers and over the years have trained lots of people to keep the bells being rung," he explains.

Chertsey is certainly home to some fascinating bells, the biggest of which Malcolm tells us weighs one tonne, the newest dates back to 1859 and the oldest to 1380.

"This bell came from Chertsey Abbey and it's the oldest bell in the county that is rung regularly in a full circle," he adds.

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