London History

.’. Mystery Clock in the Strand .’.


During the time of Henry VIII a law was passed that all churchs and other official clocks in the city must be painted in blue and gold and, officially at least, that law has never been rescinded, which is why city clocks are still mostly painted in the King’s colours.

London has numerous highly eccentric clocks – the clock at St. Dusntan’s in the West with the giants beating the hours on a bell with their clubs, for example; or Fortnum and Mason’s clock outside their famous shop. But perhaps the most bixarre and least known is the Law Court’s clocks at Strand.

What makes this clock so unusual is that it was built by an iliterate Irishman who only made clocks as a hobby, yet it is supremely accurate – in fact when complete it was said to be the most accurate clock in London. The difficulty arose when a second clock was needed and the court authorities wanted something of similar quality. Only then was it discovered that the original hadd been made by a man who – because he could not write – had kept no record of how he did it, which is why the Law Court’s clock is unique and always will be.


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