A case study by Jenny Coombes
Gillett & Johnston Ltd wascontacted by the owners of a Grade II listed building, attached to which was an 1875 clock, housed in a wooden structure hanging over a public right of way.We were contacted as we are one of the few specialist companies capable of carrying out this type of work.
What was the problem?
Although from ground level the clock case appeared to be sound it was actually hanging 60 mm out. Once the scaffolding was erected, it was discovered that the main support beam, which had been manufactured in teak, had mild steel fixing bolts which over the years had rusted and crystallised and the rust was actually splitting the timbers.
The clock case itself had a number of rotten timbers and the cladding again was fixed with mild steel screws, some of which had rusted so badly that parts of the cladding had already fallen off.
The existing clock movement was synchronous and needed replacing.
Because of the insecure state of the clock and housing and the danger to the public passing below, it was imperative that the whole structure was overhauled and made sound.
What did we do?
Once the scaffolding had been rearranged to make the dismantling safe, the clock case was completely dismantled and the end section of the support beam was removed and lowered to ground level, together with the copper dials. All was then transported to our works for renovation.
We completely dismantled the clock case removing the mild steel fixings as we went and ensuring that the existing timbers were preserved and numbered in order to use the existing timbers where possible.
We removed all paint work and thoroughly cleaned the existing timbers and replaced all rotten timbers with like for like before rebuilding the clock case and thoroughly priming and undercoating.
Additional Stainless steel bracketry was purpose made to give additional support to the beam together with a steel support frame work fitted inside the beam to reinforce the wooden support arm.
The dials were stripped of all the old decoration and rubbed down to bare metal before being etched primed and two pack gloss finish being applied. The dials were then sign written using 24 carat extra thick English gold leaf to depict Roman numerals, minute marks and outer ring. The clock hands were also gilded.
We returned the dials, clock and case to site where we reassembled the clock and refitted it all to the refurbished beam, we then top coated the case with two coats of white enamel and the 1875 date was re-sign written on both sides. The dials were fitted with stainless steel fixings and the hands replaced.
A modern day drive unit was fitted, together with master clock with radio signal monitoring.
The clock, dials and case were delivered much to the delight of the Owners and is enhancing the Grade II listed building and in no danger now to the passing public.