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.
The church of All Saints at Mappleton stands just inland from the sea. It is an essentially Victorian church, with a striking steeple built of stone salvaged from a shipwreck. The church was roofless in 1854 when a ship bearing a load of Tadcaster stone ran aground at Mappleton. The people of Mappleton were not slow to seize upon the bounty of the sea, and completed the roof and spire with the stone flotsam.
The project was to return the clock to working order, because it had not been running for some time. Also the dials were painted silver, with no gold leaf. Our clockmakers dismantled the clock, de-greased and polished all the bearings and pinions. The dials were removed and the original paint removed. The dials were then powder coated and gilded with gold leaf. The clock was fitted with Automatic Winding to the going and hour strike, and a pendulum regulator to keep the clock correct and automatically change for summer and winter time changes.
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.
Blenheim Palace is a large iconic country house near Woodstock in Oxfordshire. It is home to the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill. As part of a large restoration project on the East Courtyard Tower, Time Assured was chosen to restore four large stone clock dials and a decorative gold coronet above the west dial.
The Dial Restoration project was particularly challenging for a number of reasons.
We were asked to undertake the work during a very limited period to ensure the overall Tower restoration project was completed on time.
The restoration timetable required that we undertake the project during the winter months of February and March 2014. The low temperatures at that time of year meant we could not use our usual paint system.
Just to make things even more interesting, one of the dials was made of slate and the other three of slate with a substantial perimeter ring of sandstone.
The Blenheim Palace stonemasons undertook prior to our arrival major stonework repairs including replacing a significant portion of the North Dial. Time Assured then undertook the preparation and sealing prior to painting and gilding.
The low temperatures and very different porosity properties of the slate and sandstone surfaces required us to call upon the experts at Dacrylate Paints to come up with a paint solution that would work on slate and sandstone, dry quickly despite low temperatures, and result in a long lasting superb finish that is expected for such iconic dials.
Once painted, the dials had to be carefully marked out with the exact style of the original numerals, minute marks and perimeter rings. Our clockmakers then applied 23 1/2 carat English gold leaf.
Coronet Repair & Restoration
We were also tasked to restore and repair the damaged and weary looking gold coronet above the west dial. One of the five ‘strawberry leaf’ motifs had become detached from the lower ring and a new motif was required to be manufactured and attached.
The detail in terms of both intricate styling and the pattern depth of the strawberry leaf needed to be to the same standard as the remaining four leafs. Once attached, every intricate detail of the coronet (800mm wide) was gilded with 23 1/2 carat English gold leaf.
The excellent results speak for themselves in the adjacent series of photographs.