Sunday, 2 September 2012

Antique grandfather clock

Grandfather clock from Wales
This old grandfather clock is in my parents’ house in North Wales. It’s massive, almost seven foot I think. But originally it was taller, as someone has chopped the top few inches off (you can see it’s not quite straight), probably so it would fit under the low ceilings of a little Welsh house.

H Hughes Pwwlhely brass dialThe brass face says it was made by H. Hughes in Pwllhely (now called Pwllheli), so it’s nice to think it has lived in Wales its whole life… however long that might be. There’s no date on it, but this guide on how to date a grandfather clock suggests that a clock with a brass dial and two hands is probably from 1730-1770. However old it is, it’s amazing how many hours and minutes have ticked by, and continue to tick by today in our hallway.

The poor thing has been even more butchered round the back – a big chunk has been carved out behind the pendulum, possibly because it was rubbing or making noise. It’s funny how little people respected a lovely big clock, which was probably an expensive heirloom; just chop bits off here and there for practical reasons. My Nain also told me a relative had an antique grandfather clock that had a family tree written inside it, going back generations, centuries… I think she said it was chopped for firewood.

This is of course an eight day clock, meaning once you’ve wound it you’ll know the time for a whole week, but I don't know how people coped if they forgot. It has a small painting in the dial, a kind of coastal scene, and there is a separate little clock for the seconds. There’s a window for the date as well but I’m not sure it works. I don’t think it chimes… just a heavy, reassuring tick-tock.

My parents corrected me on a few points!
1. This used to stand in my grandparents' house, they got it in a house clearance
2. It DOES chime every 15 mins but they've turned it off as it's bloody annoying
3. The coastal scene can be turned round to display an alternative painting: a 'scary moon face'

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