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Public Clocks in Coventry

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Roger T
Torksey
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1 of 18  Mon 14th Nov 2016 11:22am  
Member: Joined Jul 2019  Total posts:555

An item under "Buses and public transport" set me wondering about this subject. It was the unusual position and fixture of that one on the roof of the café in Pool Meadow. Coventry was a town of watch and clock makers, and before the advent of cheap digital etc, there was obviously a need for public display of time. I can remember St Johns Church had one, there is that outstanding one in the Burges and I noticed a similar one in a recent photo of war damaged Broadgate, and I remember my grandfather kept a chunk of glass from the Market Hall clock that blew out in a gale in 18** something or other, and I also noticed there was a thread on bus stop clocks. But where did they come from, how did they emanate, were they part of town planning or official direction, or were they a sort of advert or just a public spirited adornment to a building? Who was responsible for them and who wound them and advanced and retarded them in summer and winter times? I would guess the present day Godiva revolving clock is serviced by a man from the City Engineers Dept. Did/does St Johns Church clock strike? PS I still use a Grandfather Clock.
Public Clocks in Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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2 of 18  Mon 14th Nov 2016 12:20pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5639

Great post, Roger Thumbs up Here's the one in Burges and St John's Church and another one for your list, at the Council House
Public Clocks in Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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3 of 18  Mon 14th Nov 2016 1:02pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

A century or so ago one was not allowed to be one minute late for work or such, and people could not afford watches so it is my belief that clocks were put in prominent places for the public to know the time. Trains and trams ran on time. Time was more important then than now.
Public Clocks in Coventry
Prof
Gloucester
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4 of 18  Wed 3rd Jun 2020 10:28pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1473

Post copied from topic Corporation Street on 4th Jun 2020 12:53 pm
Public Clocks in Coventry
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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5 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 5:36am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3571

Thumbs up Prof and another clock. It makes we wonder just how many clocks there were round the city at that time (scuse the pun). Could it have been because of the clock/watchmaking industry influence? I always remembered the Gas Showrooms as we called it then, must have been going upstairs to eat - no burgers up there though. PS. And were they all synchronized to show the same time? Edited by member, 4th Jun 2020 5:41 am
Public Clocks in Coventry
JohnnieWalker
Bonny Hills, Australia
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6 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 8:28am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:333

Hi Dreamtime - public clocks would have been very important in the days before we could all afford a wristwatch (or a fancy mobile phone that's also clever enough to tell us the time!). The better-off had fob watches in their jacket pockets (I remember my granddad having one), but the poorer members of society would have to rely on roosters, church bells or public clocks - or for factory workers, the factory hooter (I remember the GEC's Copsewood "reminder"!). It would have been seen as a valuable public service for a business to put a clock on their premises. Maybe Kaga has an anecdote on this... Edited by member, 4th Jun 2020 8:31 am
True Blue Coventry Kid

Public Clocks in Coventry
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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7 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 9:14am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3571

Thanks JW, I bet you had a Micky Mouse watch, hope you kept the box. They are worth quite a bit according to the Antiques Roadshow. Lol Lol Lol Lol
Public Clocks in Coventry
JohnnieWalker
Bonny Hills, Australia
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8 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 9:33am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:333

I think I DID have a Mickey Mouse watch! Never kept the box though! Blush
True Blue Coventry Kid

Public Clocks in Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 10:52am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Yes JW, I did a post about it earlier, God knows where, that the clocks were for the workers, for you were turned away from a factory if late. They mostly were high, to be seen easily.
Public Clocks in Coventry
Prof
Gloucester
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10 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 11:09am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1473

When I arrived in Gloucester over 50 years ago I thought how few clocks were in the city compared with Coventry! However there is a famous clock with large figures, John Bull, Scotsman, Welsh lady and Irish lady with a harp, with Old Father Time to ring the bell. Non Coventry Edited by member, 6th Jun 2020 8:27 pm
Public Clocks in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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11 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 12:38pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1774

On 4th Jun 2020 5:36am, Dreamtime said: And were they all synchronized to show the same time?
Dreamtime, according to the newspaper in the early 20th century some places of business paid a small fee and could connect to the Market Clock Tower by telephone and could hear the actual time struck. They would call about 2 minutes before the hour and stayed on the line until the hour struck. I don't know when this stopped but an article on 29th September 1954 when the speaking clock first became available to telephone subscribers on most Coventry exchanges it mentions that system as being in use 30 years before. Before the speaking clock you would ring the exchange and they would give you the time off the exchange clock which was only accurate to about 30 seconds.
Public Clocks in Coventry
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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12 of 18  Thu 4th Jun 2020 4:53pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3571

You see, ask a simple question and you get the most interesting answers, that's why I love this Forum. Thank you ALL Wave Anne, I do remember being able to ring up for the time and being just a kid I would do it just for the fun of it. Smile
Public Clocks in Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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13 of 18  Fri 5th Jun 2020 9:31am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Yes, the voice on the other end was fascinating. “The time after the next chime is...”
Public Clocks in Coventry
scrutiny
coventry
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14 of 18  Sat 6th Jun 2020 4:52pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:715

Reading this it reminds me of a ditty I read years ago. A lady who wished to get her own back on an ex cheating boyfriend who still had the key to his flat knew he had gone on holiday for a fortnight. Letting herself into his flat she then rang the speaking clock in New York. Leaving the phone off the hook she then left. I wonder how much that cost? Big grin
Public Clocks in Coventry
20A-Manor House
Coventry
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15 of 18  Thu 11th Jun 2020 10:27am  
Member: Joined Apr 2020  Total posts:82

The Co-op clock that was in Corporation Street.
Public Clocks in Coventry

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