My Grandfather’s Clock

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 says

B.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.


Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “My Grandfather’s Clock”

  1. Paula Says:

    A great article. I hope you don’t mind but I have put a link to it on my blog as I have recently finished painting a Class B 473 and your writings fit in with it perfectly!

    • locksands Says:

      I am delighted with the link and I have to say your comment hit me for a metaphorical six.

      The main reason was your name. Paula, was the name of my sister. We (wife and I) have just spent a week in Sussex which included my Paula’s funeral. Just over a year ago she bought a picture of yours – Mount Caburn as seen from somewhere above Beddingham, I should say.

      In fact you were a Facebook friend of my sister – Paula Monk.

      Now can I be a railway nerd. Your lovely painting of the Bluebell Railway loco is of a class E4 tank engine. It’s number was 473 and for a while in the 1920s it carried that B to indicate it was a Brighton engine. People of my age remember them in normal service hauling normal passenger or goods trains.
      By the way, one of my own favourites of my blog posts is about a lamp lighter at Sheffield Park station at
      I’ll return the link soon.

      And I’ll remain a happy nerd

      • Paula Says:

        Ha ha! Nerd? No, a person with an interesting life? yes. I found your sister Paula on the internet about 3 years ago, I was overwhelmed at her stories about Beddingham. At the time you camped there as children my family lived on a farm at Norhease, just 2 fields away. Paula and I (and yourself) walked the same paths but in a different time . I loved reading her posts, her wonderful way with words, her honesty and realism of life…I shall miss her and wish our paths had crossed many years ago. On the day of her funeral I ventured down to Southease, I climbed Itord hill and walked along the top to overlook the views of Beddingham. I thought about all the childhood stories I had heard from Paula and yourself. There. on top of the South Downs I said my silent goodbye to a lovely lady so full of character. You are now stuck with me! My mother was born in Wadhurst, my childhood was Southease, Northease and Newick, I can hear the trains of the Bluebell railway from our garden, our paths have crossed before, now they cross again. I shall enjoy reading your posts as I have silently done over the past couple of years . Glad you liked the painting 🙂 All the best, Paula

      • locksands Says:

        I paid my visit to Furlongs a couple of days after the funeral – having been to the Peggy Angus exhibition at the Towner in Eastbourne first. Paula and I had hoped to go there together. Sadly she didn’t make it. Did you know Peggy? I thought she was very motherly!
        I so want to tell my Paula you have been in touch.
        You might like to read the eulogy written and read by Clare, Paula’s daughter. You can find it on her website at
        I’m not bothered about being a bit of a nerd and of course, I have had a ‘normal’ life really – married for forty plus years with children, grandchildren and now very happily retired.

        Still smiling, although tears flowed at Towner and Furlongs!

      • Paula Says:

        It is lovely and so true. I just can’t believe that just a year ago they came to visit me in Newick to collect the painting. I can’t remember what Clare said but Paula’s reply was ( in a very matter of fact way) “me embaress you?You’re not the one calling your 30+ son Clare! ” …I so laughed! Then Clare was practising talking in a higher tone and realizing that it sounded more like a Monty python sketch! Very funny! It seems so unbelievable how things changed over the past year, to see how Bill has deteriorated and how sad that he wasn’t able to be there for Paula and to say goodbye 😦 It just proves a point that we should make the most of each day….it was a short “friendship” but she inspired me so very much….I shall miss her

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: