Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tic Toc - The Story of three Clocks


In the 1840s a railway standard time for all of England, Scotland, and Wales evolved, replacing several "local time" systems. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich began transmitting time telegraphically in 1852 and by 1855 most of Britain used Greenwich time. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) subsequently evolved as an important and well-recognized time reference for the world.

In 1873, the railway network reached Skegness, and two years later in 1875 Skegness railway station opened. With the opening of the railway Skegness was now easily (and cheaply) accessible to the industrial towns and cities of the Midlands, and it was from this locality that most of the Early visitors to Skegness came.

At the end of Lumley Road is the town's prominent clock tower, its most well-recognised landmark, built in 1898-99 and funded through public subscription. The clock tower was built to commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897 although it was not completed until two years afterwards and was officially opened by The Countess of Scarborough on 11th August 1899. The clock tower is 56ft tall and   was of the Gothic style, it has four square clock faces with round dials 4ft in diameter. The raised island and traffic roundabout were formed in 1960 and the cost of building the tower was £550.    The clock tower became the subject of a hoax in the Skegness Standard on 1 April 2009, when the newspaper claimed that it was about to be dismantled and moved to a museum.  It is also featured as a 3D rendering in Google Earth.

 There is another clock I recall seeing as a youngster in Skegness. This was the famous mechanical Guinness clock. The original Guinness Clock was of course at the Festival of Britain exhibition in Battersea Park 1951. So popular was it that Guinness then made a smaller replica which went on tour. Although as such I have found no record of it visiting Skegness it is documented that it visited many seaside towns like Clacton and Gt Yarmouth. I recall seeing on Tower Esplanade where presently the wishing well stands

 The clock was first seen at Battersea Pleasure Gardens in 1951. It kept crowds spell bound, because every quarter of an hour the rays of the sun began to revolve, and the Zoo Keeper appeared under an umbrella ringing a bell, at the same time the lower double doors opened and showed a tree trunk. Pecking at the tree trunk were two Toucans. They were pecking like woodpeckers to the tune of a music box. The words ‘Guinness Time’ appear in lights on the trunk. Higher up in the clock, (which was 25 foot high) the cone turns into a roundabout on top of the tower and started to spin. Twirling marionettes whirled, an Ostrich put his head out of a chimney and turned his gaze onto the marionettes. The doors in the small tower opened and the Mad Hatter fished in the well below and caught a large fish. The large fish disgorged a smaller fish and yet a smaller fish and then a very small one appeared. But this was just a tiddler, and the fisherman was just about to grasp it when it fell back into the mouth of the fish below then that fish fell onto the one below that, till the three fish ended up in the mouth of the larger fish. The larger fish then disappeared into the well that it came out of. The music now rose to a crescendo, the clock struck, then the Mad Hatter disappeared indoors, the roundabout slowed down, the marionettes folded into the cone. The Zoo Keeper disappeared under his umbrella and the doors closed on the Guinness Toucans. The only movement then was the revolving of the Guinness Zodiac about the dial of the clock with the sound of ticking. All is quiet for another 15 minutes.

I would now like to take you to Nottingham for my 3rd and final clock. In 1973, Rowland Emett created The Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator, more popularly known as the Victoria Centre clock, or the Emmet Clock.
The unique water-powered structure was a popular meeting place for shoppers.The Victoria Centre clock is a popular meeting place for shoppers
Mr Emett also designed the whacky inventions of Dick Van Dyke's character Caractacus Potts, in the 1968 movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.









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