Great Malvern Station Clock

Great Malvern Station Clock

You may have noticed that the clock is now working.  There has been a remarkable amount of interest and questions in my tweet on Malvern Matters  (almost 200 likes and comments so far) and as there is not much background information it is time to fill in the gaps.

Great Malvern Station Clock - restoration
Great Malvern Station Clock – restoration

 The practical problem with the clock has been that someone had to wind it up every week in a specific manner and, given the new Health and Safety regulations, volunteers are not allowed to use ladders on the station.  As a result, the clock was no longer wound and has not worked for at least four years.

The Friends of Malvern Railways Group felt that a nonworking clock was not an asset to the station so made enquiries about getting it going again.  It was clear that an electric motor was the answer and with the help of the Railway Heritage Trust, I managed to locate a firm specialising in station clocks, Smiths of Derby.  They agreed that they could supply and install a self-regulating motor with replacement hands so that the external appearance of the clock would remain unchanged.   MHDC conservation officers were happy about this and Network Rail also agreed that this was a worthwhile stand-alone project. This was rather expensive but Railway Heritage Trust agreed to split the cost with Network Rail.

This has now been done and the clock is working normally.    Examining the old mechanism, which we intend to display on the station, shows some point of interest but unfortunately no identifying marks.  The clock probably dates from the early 20th century but the exact date is unknown.   It has a heavy duty brass mechanism with fusee and pendulum, with a direct linkage between the two faces so that the same motor drives both directly, and it is in good working order. The hands have counterweights on the drives.   Curiously the hands are cheap aluminium cutouts and clearly not part of the original clock.  Since the face has BR(W) on it, it is most likely that at some time in the late 1940’s when there was plenty of aluminium around and not much else, it was refaced and the new hands put on. 

Great Malvern Station Clock
Great Malvern Station Clock

The other curious feature is how it was wound.  There is a standard winding spindle projecting from one side of the motor about four cms below the centre of the clock face in the six o’clock position which would logically be accessed via a keyhole in the clockface.  However there is no corresponding hole in the face to take the winder so the spindle can apparently only be reached in the absence of the clock face.   Obviously there must be another way of winding the clock as it was wound weekly for many years, but I cannot see how this was done nor see any other way to access the mechanism at all apart from a hatch at the base which would be used for adjusting the pendulum.  Has anyone any solution to this? 

Michael Pritchard
Chair, Friends of Malvern Railways Group
You can contact Michael via the Contact Form.