Specialist clockmakers Smith of Derby walk us through the restoration process of the London Road Clock.
After 15 years in storage and following a full restoration, the historic London Road clock was returned to its home at Elm Row on 16 August 2022.
The clock began its life on Waverley Bridge in 1857. It was moved to the West End in 1896 before being eventually placed at the roundabout on London Road in 1955. In 2007 it was removed as part of the original tram project and sent to specialist clockmakers Smith of Derby to bring it back to its former glory.
The restoration process involved dismantling the clock, priming and repainting all parts, hand painting ornate features in gold and repairing the Coat of Arms of Edinburgh, including casting a new deer from aluminium.
We spoke to Sam Welton from Smith of Derby about the restoration process.
Talk us through the method of restoration?
The clock was dismantled into many sections and pieces, ensuring all parts and joins were exposed to allow a thorough restoration process could to be completed. Each cast iron part was then abraded back to bare metal before any fabrication repairs could be completed. The new paint layers were then applied, ensuring good protection for the metal, before the clock was assembled once again.
Was this is a standard restoration?
Whilst the processes undertaken are our standard restoration procedure, the magnitude and number of individual pieces made the project complex. This offered a unique challenge to our team, whilst carefully following skills and experiences gained over a many number of years.
Talk us through the installation process?
The clock will be built in three sections on site, using a hiab lorry to lift each section into place. Initially the base will be fitted to the pre-existing foundations, then the main pillar before the top section is mounted on top. The dials, lighting, movements, clock controller will then all be installed before the coat of arms is placed on top of the clock.
What are the main complexities of installation process?
The install offers a very unique challenge, as the clock has not been together since it was removed many years ago. Whilst we have built sections in our workshop, having the clock as one completed structure has not been achieved due to the height of the clock in our workshop. Our team will carefully install each sections, closely following the project plan and safety regulations, to ensure a great outcome.
How will it be kept maintained?
Our local clockmaker, based in Edinburgh, will attend to the clock once a year to clean and lubricate the clock movements along with checking all electrical components. This will ensure reliable working order for many years to follow.