The clock tower at Kingsmead in Cheshire had a problem with one of its clock movements. We sent out clockmaker to investigate, we found one of the movements had failed. The local council asked us to fit four new clock movements to make sure the other clock movements do not fail in the near future.
We were asked by St Mary’s Church in Rawmarsh to inspect the dial motion works. The church had reported that one of the minute hands seemed to go past the hour and move on several minutes. The church had scaffold around the tower for other works, which gave us access to the hands on the outside of the clock tower.
We could not find any problems that warranted any repairs. But with the scaffold in place this gave the church the opportunity for the hands to be removed and the dial motion works to be dismantled, inspected, cleaned and re-lubricated.
All the hands were removed followed by the dial motion works. They were completely dismantled cleaned and de-greased. All the bearings and pivots polished. They were then all re-greased, reassembled and fitted back into the dial bars. The hands were the refitted and the clock set going again.
Earlier this year, we were invited to inspect the clock at All Hallows Church. The wooden framed clock which was made approximately in the 1600’s, had an Automatic Winding System added some years later which had stopped working.
After inspecting the automatic winding system, it appeared that the old Crouzet motor had failed. It turned out that this motor is now obsolete, and we could not source a comparable replacement either.
We spoke to the church and quoted to fit a new Automatic Winding System. This was accepted and went to faculty, this was then granted. The new System has now been installed and the clock is now showing and chiming the hours again.
During May 2016, we were contacted by Scarborough Council. This was to take a look at the floral clock in Pannett Park in Whitby. This had not been working for some time.
When our clockmaker uncovered the clock movement, which is normally buried under the plants. He found that the drive pin on the minute spindle had been sheared, therefore the motor could not drive the clock hands. Also the drive coupling had been badly deformed.
The top of the clock case was returned to our workshop. This was then disassembled, and a new drive cup assembly machined from stainless steel. A new pin was fitted to the minute spindle and the whole assembly rebuilt.
Whilst we were repairing the clock movement, Scarborough Council had re-painted the hands. The repaired clock movement was re-fitted, and re-buried ready for the summer bedding to be planted out.
Occasionally it is required when repairing clocks to work at height or access clock dials and bells that are awkward to get to. Sometimes scaffolding which can be quite expensive is required, however using roped access can be a safe and cost effective alternative.
In order to be able to use roped access a clockmaker is required to undergo and pass rigorous training with IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association). This certification lasts three years before it is required to be renewed.
Health and Safety regulations require that a second person is on site at all times that roped access is being undertaken. This is to ensure that should the situation arise, the emergency services can be called promptly without delay.
Roped Access safety methods can also be deployed in other situations such as a secondary safety backup system when using ladders. This is illustrated in the series of photographs below highlighting the servicing of a Church Bell and associated striking equipment. The equipment was situated on the top of a very steep Church roof. Although a ladder and roof ladder was used as the primary means of access, whilst a secondary backup safety system was employed using a safety harness and secured ropes. A catapult fired a line over the Church roof and this was used to pull a rope over the roof which was then securely tied. The clockmaker used the rope secured to his harness as a backup safety system while attending to the bell equipment from a roof ladder.
The safety of our clockmakers is paramount and this also gives peace of mind not only to ourselves but also to our customers.