The Forest Church Clock

The Forest Church Clock was installed in 1897 as part of the parochial celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  The project was funded by public subscription although I understand that Dr Le Pelley gave a generous donation to see the project through. Initially Bensons of London were invited to furnish a new tower clock.

On surveying the tower, now with the four bells installed they came to the conclusion that there would not be a sufficient weight drop to allow the clock to operate for more than one day with the type of movement that they could provide.  However a German Clockmaker who had started in business was contacted to see what could be done.  This was Mr. Ernst W Bachmann – who’s Company we later knew as The Jewelers & Silversmiths (now Mappin & Webb) in Commercial Arcade.

Mr. Bachmann was evidently well familiar with tower clocks from Germany and was able to come up with a fairly unique solution.  His two weights, one much larger and heavier than the other driving the Striker, the smaller driving the clock, drop into a weight well on the north-east corner of the tower.  It is however not possible for them to drop all the way down without fouling part of the bell frame, so they installed a slightly slanted greased board, allowing the weights to slide all the way to the bottom without fouling.

The clock remained in its original form, really with minimal maintenance, even when the bells were augmented from four to six in 1984.  It was only recently that the mechanism has been fitted with modern electric winding apparatus that any really significant alteration has been made, and even now the clock is only electrically wound, and is theoretically immune from being stopped and otherwise affected by power interruptions.  It still however has to be manually regulated as it gains a little in the Winter and loses a little in the Summer.

The Photo shows the clock mechanism from the front with the two setting dials.  The white dial on the right side shows Minutes i.e. the position of the Minute hand on the Clock Face whilst the larger wheel on the left shows Hours and is part of the Striking Mechanism.  The clock strikes the Hours and Half Hours.

FPC Clock