by Martin Spence in Porlock, England, United Kingdom


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Porlock village's church clock can be seen up and down the High Street.It has stopped working, and we need help to raise the cost of repairs

by Martin Spence in Porlock, England, United Kingdom

                                     Porlock Jubilee Clock

Back in 1897 the people of Porlock raised the money to buy a a clock for the church tower to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and it is still a major feature in our lovely Exmoor village. People still use it as they pass along the High Street, and can hear the chimes striking the hours.

 The effects of wear and tear stopped the clock in 2020. The hands stand still, making the church look neglected, and the chimes are silent. 

Porlock is an active busy village, with many visitors, and the clock is a real asset - but not at the moment!

We want to restore the clock to its original condition; have it keeping good time, and once more striking the hours on our tenor bell for the benefit both of the village and of the many visitors who come to spend time in Porlock. It would be really excellent if we could have it restored in time for our own Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

                         Extracts from the report on the state of the clock

The movement is a good cast-iron flat-bed movement, striking the hours from a count wheel.The movement is covered in a thick layer of oil & grease, which has accumulated over many years, there is excessive wear in the front barrel bearing of the time side & wear in the escapement bearings. Extra weights have been added to the strike drive weight to make it work which isn’t good practice. The movement drives the three dials via a series of bevel gears & connecting rods around the internal walls; there is excessive play in the connection joints & some of the bevel gears. The dial motion works [the 12:1 gears behind each dial] also requires attention to ensure they are in good order. 

The clock needs to be dismantled and taken to a workshop for this work to be carried out.

A description of the clock in an article from the 28th August 1897 Somerset Free Press.

 The Mr. Brown in the article was a local man, born in Porlock in 1845, and had lived in Doverhay. He had moved to Minehead, where his watchmaker's and jeweller's shop was at 24 The Parade, now Barclay's Bank. Probably the clock parts were made in London, and assembled in the tower by Mr. Brown.

“At a meeting of the Diamond Jubilee memorial committee, held in the school room Monday evening tenders were considered for a new clock to be placed in the church tower as a permament memorial of the diamond jubilee year. The tender of Mr G Brown jeweler of Minehead was accepted, and he will proceed at once with the erection of the clock. The works will be made of the best material, the train wheels of gun metal with machine-cut teeth, the arbors and pinions being tempered and polished steel.  The escapement will be the improved Graham deadbeat escapement, with either a seconds-beat pendulum or a longer one.  The movement will be provided with Lord Grimpthorpe’s, or spring maintaining-power arrangement, which keeps the clock going during winding; and a guarantee of seven years for good workmanship, sound material, and time-keeping time to 15 seconds per week. The clock will have three faces, on the north, south, and west sides of the tower respectively, and if architectural considerations all ow it a fourth face may be added on the remaining side, each face being a skeletal dial five feet in diameter.  It will be thus seen that the clock, raised by subscriptions in the town, will be a worthy memorial of the jubilee year.” West Somerset Free Press 28 August 1897


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