Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Sunday Surprise

This morning we enjoyed a lie-in and a slow start to the day after the busyness of the last few days, it was very welcome.  The morning service at the Baptist Church didn’t start til 11 so that was good.

At the end of the service I saw someone I recognised, Beat, the sister of my Uncle back in our home church in Sussex. I went and said hello, she remembered me too and welcomed us. Then along came David, her husband who after the introductions then said ‘Would you like treat? I’ve arranged to take some other friends up the Town Hall clock tower, would you like to come too?’




Well we were not going to miss that opportunity, so we quickly said ‘yes’ and followed him down the road.  David has been looking after the Town Hall clock for over 40 years, as well as number of others in the local area.






Once he had let us inside the front door, we made our way up part of the way in a lift, then entered a door into this small room, just a ladder going up.

I wasn’t really dressed for climbing, a long skirt and shoes with low heels, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so up we went.




More and more ladders..








‘Til we were behind the clock faces.  4 of them facing out over the town.








The clock mechanism was making its lovely rhythmic tick-tocking sound, with so many cogs, rods, and wheels slowly turning, and moving the hands on the other side of the clock face minute by minute.

Just as it has been doing since 1881 when it was first installed.




David has over the years worked on, and taken apart every part of this clock, even the hands on the outside, and the green painted automatic mechanism he has  installed so that he no longer has to climb the tower to wind the clock twice a week as he once did.





The heavy pendulum sP1080776wings just a little way,

regulating the clock movement just right.




Adjusted by a pile of 2p pieces.

Usually just one added or taken away, summer and winter.







One of the two bells which mark the quarter hours.








And the larger bell which rings the hour.  We heard it strike for one o’clock.








Looking down through the louvres in the bell tower to the town below.






And across the rooftops to St Nicholas' Church which has another clock looked after by David.





Our guide to the tower and the working of ‘his’ clock.

Thanks David we had a great time, a real bonus to our visit to Newbury.


  1. Lucky You! What a fantastic treat, glad you had a good day in Newbury.....

  2. What a lovely, unexpected treat. Fancy the two pence pieces being used to regulate the clock. How delightful!