The 5 best Glasgow Clocks
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For thousands of years people have wanted to measure, display and keep track of time.
The solution to this need was clocks, machines in which a device that performs regular movements in equal intervals of time is linked to a counting mechanism that records the number of movements.
But even before the middle of the 20th century, most people did not have watches, and prior to the 18th century even home clocks were rare.
It that context, public clocks served the purely functional purpose of informing Glaswegians about the time. But they also served as Glasgow landmarks, reference points, and symbols of civic pride. Indeed, public clocks were something of a status symbol for our community, a sign that Glasgow had reached a high level of prosperity.
Public clocks were not cheap. The best models could cost a small fortune. And the specialized mechanisms required to power them were large, cumbersome, and often complicated to assemble. They also required constant winding and regular maintenance. Not surprisingly, then, not every little village could afford one.
We are nowadays surrounded by clocks, as they can be found in mobile phones or microwaves, but public clocks, while retaining their original function, have also become a fantastic decorative element to our city.
Keep your eyes open and look up, for it is only once we are aware of these beautiful timepieces that we can truly begin to appreciate them.
Visit Glasgow Central Station
Glasgow Central Station, opened in 1879, is full of architectural details, but the clock suspended from an iron riveted gilder that supports the glass roof is probably the most noticeable and popular attribute.
The original four-faced clock, which was 15ft high with elegant wooden framework and a lead-sheathed cupola, was replaced in 1962 by a new modern model suspended under the girder roof. Finally, a replica of the original was put in place in 1992, receiving the applause of the people of Glasgow.
During decades this clock has served as a meter of time, but nowadays, with the digital indicator board fulfilling that function, it remains as Glasgow’s main rendezvous point. “Meet me under the clock” is a phrase repeated millions of times.
“Meet me under the clock”.
Discover Tolbooth Steeple
In 1626-1627, at the crossing of the four main medieval streets of Glasgow, the town council built a new Tolbooth (a building providing a council meeting chamber, a court house and a jail).
It was overtopped by the Steeple containing the town clock and it was described as Scotland´s “most remarkable civic building of the 17th century”. The Tolbooth Steeple stood higher than the Tollbooth -7 storeys plus the crown totalling 126ft, so that the huge faces of the clock, painted blue and adorned with gold roman numerals, would be easy to read.
For centuries, the Tolbooth Steeple clock has witnessed marketplaces, proclamations and public hangings of Glasgow occurred. Nowadays, the clock tower, located on a traffic island, is the only surviving part of the Tolbooth building.
The surviving part of the 17th century Tolbooth building.
Enjoy St Andrew’s in the Square
This magnificent edifice is a Georgian-style former church designed by Allan Dreghorn, and based on James Gibbs’ famous St Martins-in-the-Fields in London.
It was built between 1739-1756 and is widely regarded as one of the finest classical churches in Britain. It is topped with a graceful and very slender steeple containing the clock face on every side, with a rotunda face as a decorative element that also provides the right time.
The church was last used for a religious service in June 1993. In 2000, a major repair was completed. It transformed St Andrew’s into the Glasgow’s Centre for Scottish Culture, a venue with a function space used for weddings and conferences, and in addition a cafe and restaurant in the basement.
One of the finest classical churches in Britain.
Admire Hutchesons’ Hall
Located in the Merchant City area, the building was constructed as Hutchesons’ Hospital between 1802-05 by the Scottish architect David Hamilton, although it was never used as such. It features two statues of the brothers Thomas and George Hutcheson, carved in 1649 and previously located at an older hospital sited in Trongate.
The 150 feet tall building is crowned by an impressive and unusual octagonal tower design, topped by a blue clock face and a dial plate, on repeated on the four compass directions.
In June 2014 it was refurbished and opened as a three flooring dining venue, Hutchesons City Grill. It is a category A listed building, owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
It was originally conceived as a hospice for impoverished old men.
Visit Charing Cross Mansions
Charing Cross Mansions, a great red sandstone tenement, was designed in the French style by the Glaswegian architect John James Burnet under the orders of the businessman Robert Simpson, and finished in 1891.
This A listed building curves Sauchiehall Street with St. George’s Road. It still dominates Charing Cross, being even more noticeable since the surrounding area was destroyed during the 1960’s.
It contains a centrepiece baroque clock created by the Scottish sculptor William Birnie Rhind, with several fines sculptures bordering the clock and representing the signs of the zodiac, symbols of commerce and industry, the Glasgow coat of arms and the entwined letters R and S, standing for Robert Simpson.
Possibly the finest surviving red sandstone building in Glasgow.
St Enoch Station was built in the 1870’s and was one of the two main stations of Glasgow. When the whole building was demolished in 1977, the rubble was used to fill in Queens Dock (currently the SSEC). The only remaining part of the station is the St. Enoch Clock, installed at the Antonine Center in Cumbernauld.
Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 20-30 JULY 2018 ׀
Publication date: 31 JULY 2018
Review date: 31 JULY 2019
Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
|Currently, the clock exists.||The clock is placed in a public place.||The clock is in working order.|
1 Clock seen during the day.
2 Busy street.
3 Clock story.
4 Category A listed building.
5 Beauty of the clock.
6 Clock innovative or unusual.
Premium Validation criteria:
7 State of the building.
8 Environment of the clock.
9 Sound of the clock.
10 Clock dials.
11 Clock seen during the night.
12 Integration in the building.
14 Other features.