50 Years of Care Continues With Restoration of St Davids Cathedral Clock Dials

"We have a very strong emotional attachment to the clock having been part of its history since its manufacture in 1871." - Keith Cotton, Smith of Derby Clockmaker

Posted on 07 October, 2014


They have, for almost 150 years, dominated the local landscape as an icon of the jewel of West Wales.


Now, photographs have been released of the extensive dial restoration of the famous St Davids Cathedral clock dials, which have been re-installed after months of refurbishment by clockmakers at Smith of Derby.

The pictures show how the clock dials, which date back to 1871, were taken apart and restored at the company’s workshop in Derby.


The clock was originally manufactured by J B Joyce & Co of Whitchurch, which has been part of the Smith of Derby Group since 1965, and consists of a mechanical movement driving the dials. The clocks strike every hour. 


Smith of Derby has been maintaining the clock annually for over 50 years and was contacted by staff at the 12th Century Cathedral in 2012 after a regular inspection showed that part of one of the dial centres had come away. 


After making the site safe, the clock dials were removed earlier this year and transported to Derby. The full dial restoration involved blasting the dials to remove the old rust, applying a zinga primer undercoat and finishing them in their original blue colour gloss. The numerals, minute marks and hands were then re-gilded using 23 ½ carat double thickness gold leaf. 


The three, 2.3m (90”) diameter dials were then refitted in September and all the work has now been completed.


Keith Cotton, Technical Clockmaker, said: “This was a major restoration and it is great to see the clock dials restored to their former glory . We have a very strong emotional attachment to the clock having been part of its history since its manufacture."


"As the pictures show, it was a painstaking job which involved some very intricate, handcrafted work from our engineers. The results are superb and something the people of St Davids and the many tourists who visit will be able to enjoy for many years to come."


Whilst the clock tower has four faces, dials were only ever installed on three, facing south, west and east. There is no clock dial on the north side as the fundraising efforts of the day failed to raise enough to complete the job.


For more information on the project feel free to contact us here


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