This must rate as one of the most bizzare images on WAN. In the 1970’s, London's St Pancras Station had fallen into disrepair and only just survived being demolished. British Rail planned to sell off its classic platform clock, built by Dent Clocks (the manufacturer of Big Ben’s clock) and arranged a sale with a US collector for £250,000. Unfortunately during dismantling it was dropped and smashed into pieces.
Roland Hoggard (pictured), a retired railway worker who was there at the time, collected the smashed pieces and took them back on a train to his home in Nottingham where he spent 18 months putting the clock back together. The dial which stands 10ft in diameter has been installed onto a gable of Hoggard’s barn.
London and Continental Railways (LCR) - the new owners of St Pancras - were overjoyed to hear about Hoggard’s story because they wanted to restore the station to its former glory, and didn't have accurate deatils of the orginal. Now that they have seen Hoggard's restored clock they are able to create an accurate replica. It will include the same Welsh slate numerals, cast-iron hands and gold leaf ornamentation that once adorned the original clock.
LCR has invited Mr Hoggard to a royal ceremony on 6 November, which is when St Pancras will be officially reopened before train services restart on 14 November. Hanging above him will be the exact replica of his clock.
On 11 August Big Ben was stopped to allow four to six weeks of essential maintenance work. A team of specialist technicians abseiled down the south clock face to begin a day cleaning and repairing the clock faces.
In the same time that Westminster’s Big Ben stopped ticking, time also stood still at Hampton Court Palace with the removal of King Henry VIII’s 500 year-old astronomical clock for conservation and restoration to be undertaken. This rare astronomical clock is one of the most significant late-medieval clocks in Europe, with only a handful of clocks predating King Henry’s surviving today.
Thumbnail images: (from left to right) 1 Roland Hoggard, 2 & 3 Big Ben and 4, 5 & 6 shows the removal of King Henry VIII’s clock at Hampton Court Palace (photographs: Richard Lea-Hair).