No, this one is not too big for the shelf. Actually, at home it sits on my aunt’s piano!
This clock is very ordinary. It’s a Smiths chiming mantle clock and dates from the 1960s.
This clock has had a bit of a stop/go existence. It stopped for a while and then I spent some time on it and had it working nicely enough. Then it began a regime of stopping at five to one, every twelve hours and as a result it languished, out of use.
The other day I decided to set it going again, fully expecting that when I got up in the morning it would have stopped. But it hadn’t. So I got the hands coordinated with the strike and chime and once again, the clock is sounding out its Westminster chimes every quarter of an hour. Actually, I wonder if the air brake is a bit gunked up because the chimes are not fast enough. I had hoped they might loosen off with time, but so far they remain slow.
Yes, this clock did belong to grandfather and was one of many he had for he had a bit of a penchant for clocks, mostly acquired from his brother’s ‘junk’ shop, But this one is different. This was his long service award for work on the railway. The plaque under the face records this.
This saysB.R. Southern Region R. F. Ware In appreciation of 45 years service.
Grandad may have retired from British Railways Southern Region, but when he commenced his railway service, after his release from a German POW camp and return home at the end of World War One, he joined the South Eastern Railway which had arrangements with its neighbour and may have been known as The South Eastern and Chatham Railway. I can only guess that his initial job was as a carriage cleaner which led to him becoming a train guard. From 1923 to 48 his employer would have been Southern Railway and in 1948 the railways became national property and so he was in the employ of British Railways (Southern Region)
There was a career progression through guarding trains which should have seen Grandad become a guard on the most important passenger trains. But for various reasons of his choice he always preferred goods trains. In terms of being a part of the team running the train that was the more skilled job. But Grandad may also have liked night work to help him cope with a somewhat unsatisfactory second marriage.
Towards the end of his career, with failing health, he was moved to the lighter duty of passenger work. He never enjoyed it as much.
Grandad ought to have done more than 45 years but of course the First World War meant he started a bit late and then poor health (Grandad was a heavy smoker) meant he had to give up a bit early.
He’s gone, of course, but like other ancestors, he is certainly not forgotten.