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Apr 2013

Historic clock winds up for first time in decades at The School Yard

The original 150 year old clock which has marked time for Harborne residents since the late 1800s has been fully refurbished with ground-breaking horological technology as part of a £30,000 restoration programme.

Originally manufactured by John Smith and Sons of Derby (now known as Smith of Derby), the restoration of the clock at Harborne Clock Tower has been completed by the same firm. The works to the listed tower and the clocks are part of the £5m The School Yard scheme by EDG Property, which will see the redevelopment of the historic school building into restaurants and a new residential building.

The clock, which is positioned atop the landmark tower with four separate dials, has a flat-bed hour striking movement that drives the four dials through a double three legged gravity escapement. The work has the full restoration of the four dials as well as routine maintenance. The four clock faces have been modernised for the new century with illuminated backgrounds.

Neil Edginton, EDG Property, said: “The clock is an intrinsic part of our redevelopment of The School Yard scheme and of Harborne as a place. It is a real landmark so its careful restoration was of prime importance.  There is a lovely synergy in working with Smith of Derby after all these years and as we believe that the clock hasn’t struck the hour since the mid-1980s, we are delighted that it will once again mark time in Harborne village.”

The majority of the highly skilled works has been carried out in-situ, with some delicate restoration works to the clock faces completed at the Smith workshops in Derby. With all parts now reinstated, the clock will stay silent until the launch of the first phase of development at The School Yard which is scheduled for this autumn. This will mark the opening of the restaurants at the scheme, which include Metro Continental, Prezzo Group, Urban Coffee Company and community cookery school, Kitchen.

Keith Cotton, Smith of Derby, said: “It is a true privilege to bring a beautiful timepiece back into full working order, especially as it was our own firm that made and fitted the clock over 150 years ago. The restoration of the Harborne Clock Tower is respectful of its historic nature and aims to bring a community landmark back into use as well as ensuring that it will stand the test of time and continue to tick well into the next 150 years.”

Smith of Derby is well known for its expertise in conservation projects and also made and fitted the Grand Brasserie Clock at St Pancras Station, the Cathedral Clock at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Swiss Glockenspiel in Leicester Square.

Construction at The School Yard started last month and the commercial units are scheduled to be operational by Christmas. The boutique residential phase of the scheme comprises a number of apartments and two townhouses. Pre-launch interest levels have far exceeded expectations with pre-registered parties now being contacted to arrange priority appointments to reserve.