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Tyne and Wear HER(12219): Newcastle, St. Nicholas Cathedral, clock - Details

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Newcastle, St. Nicholas Cathedral, clock




Time Measuring Instrument


Early Modern



The cathedral has had several clocks. The first mention of a clock was in 1565. A clock with chimes was installed in 1761. A new clock illuminated by gas light, was erected in 1832 by John Walker. This inspired the song 'The Fiery Clock-Fyce' by Robert Nunn. The present clock was rebuilt in 1885 by W. Potts of Leeds {1}. The first clock was installed in 1565. The 1761 clock had chimes and an hour hand only. A minute hand was added in 1826. In 1829 the north face of the clock was illuminated by gas. This was the first clock in Newcastle to be lit by gas. The bells were rung in celebration. Robert (Bobby) Nunn, a 21 year old musician, wrote a song called 'The Fiery Clock-Fyece' to commemorate this occasion. In 1832 a new clock was installed, made by John Walker. A violent wind storm blew out the clock face on 19th October 1862. It was replaced on November 15th. The present clock was installed in 1895. It was made by William Potts & Sons of Leeds. It has the largest clock movement in Newcastle and is protected by glass doors. William Potts still maintain the contract for winding, regulating, oiling and maintaining the clock. It used to require winding every day until an electric motor was fitted in 1960. The dial measures six feet six inches in diameter. The clock uses four bells of the peal of twelve for the chimes and the Major Bell to strike the hour (HER 6652). In 1988 a condition survey stated that the clock chambers required renovation {2}.




Thomas Yellowley, 2006, Newcastle timepieces in Tyneside's Finest, 2006, p 191; Brenda Whitelock, 1992, Timepieces of Newcastle, pp 4-9

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