St Giles Church

Clock Winder at Work

1994

Ritchie  -  The clock winder winding the clock at the Highland Tollbooth church - 1992

  Copyright: Peter Stubbs  -   please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk                                         Photo taken November 2, 1994

 

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   Ritchie  -  The clock winder winding the clock at the Highland Tollbooth church - 1992

 

James Ritchie & Son

Edinburgh Clock Winding

Public Clocks

James Ritchie & Son (Clockmakers) were established in Edinburgh in 1809. They manufactured many of the public clocks in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland, and are now responsible for maintaining a number of public clocks in Edinburgh.  This includes clock winding.

Clock winding

On several occasions between 1991 and 1996, I accompanied the clock winder, Dougie Belam, and sometimes his young trainee assistant, Neil Samuel, around the clocks.  This involved a lot of climbing steps and ladders.

Dougie's timetable in 1992 was:

TUESDAYS

Tron  (High Street.  It took 3 minutes to wind)

St Gile's  (High Street.  It took 20 minutes to wind)

Ritchie - Clock Winder at work at St Gile's Church - 1992

Tolbooth St John's (Castlehill.  Climb the high ladder)

Ladder at Tolbooth St John's Church  - 1993

Canongate Tolbooth (Royal MIle.  This is a very short climb.  The clock workings are inside the Tolbooth and a spindle extends to the clock above the street)

Time Ball (Calton Hill.  Raise the ball half way with 25 turns at 12.50.  Another 25 turns at 12.55.  Drop it at 1pm when the puff of smoke is seen from the Castle Gun, so that it is seen to drop at the same time as the gun is heard.

The time  ball operated Monday to Saturday throughout the year except when the weather was windy or foggy.)

The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill.  The time ball being raised at 12.55pm

THURSDAYS

St Mary's (below Broughton roundabout)

St Stephen's  (Stockbridge)

The clock winder raises the weight for the clock at St Stephen's Church, Stockbridge 

St Andrew's & St George's

The clockwinder, winding the clock at St ANdrew's & St George's Church

South Leith
(Not  being wound in 1992.  It is being re-glazed, and the big hand has gone missing!)

Time Ball

The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill.  The time ball being raised at 12.55pm

FRIDAYS

St Gile's (High Street)

Ritchie - Clock Winder at work at St Gile's Church - 1992

Time Ball (Calton Hill.)

The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill.  The time ball being raised at 12.55pm

Tron (High Street)

Sadly, I heard that Dougie Belam died in 2001.

Other Clocks

Ritchie also had a position for another clock winder in Edinburgh.  The job was vacant and being advertised in 1992, following a death.

I don't know which clocks this involved.  Apparently they were the clocks that involved less climbing, but the shift started early so that the clocks could be wound before the workers arrived.

 

Ritchie St Stephen's Church

 Edinburgh at Work

 

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