Passing Time

Happy New Year! A couple of days ago, many of us will have seen in 2013 to the bongs of Big Ben. Rather appropriately, Gareth Thomas from Lichfield District Council has found another fantastic document in his treasure trove, relating to our very own clock tower here in Lichfield, said to have been inspired by that famous London landmark. Gareth, in his characteristic generosity, has scanned it on and sent it over for me to share here. A while back I did another post on the Clock Tower (which you can read here), and it’s fantastic when more parts of the jigsaw come to light!

Entitled ‘ Agreement for sale and purchase of the Clock Tower situated in Saint John Street in the City of Lichfield’, the document describes how on 24th August 1927, the Lichfield Conduit Lands Trustees (some of their names will be familiar I’m sure!) agreed to sell the Clock Tower to the Mayor Alderman and Citizens of the City of Lichfield for £50. One of my favourite parts is where it states that:

‘any coins or other articles of value or antiquity which may be discovered shall be considered the property of the Trustees and shall be handed over to the Warden immediately they are found (sic)’

I wonder if they did find anything? And if so, did they hand it over?!

A plaque recording this event can be found on the Clock Tower:

The document can be seen by clicking on the PDF links below (it was too big to add as one whole document!)

Clock 1

Clock 2

Clock 3

Clock 4

As you may know,  the Clock Tower was erected in 1863, making it 150 years old this year. I think it would be fantastic if, as a celebration, we could give people  a closer look at the tower that they pass by and the clock that they hear each day, by opening it up to the public (I did go up Birmingham’s ‘Big Brum’ clock tower once so I don’t think it’s too harebrained an idea).

Here is a bona fide harebrained idea though – what about starting a new tradition of seeing in the New Year with the bongs of the Lichfield Clock Tower? I wonder if there are any records of people doing this in the past, when we didn’t have Jools Holland on the tellybox to see in the New Year with. Shall we make a date then?  New Year’s Eve 2013 in the Festival Gardens. I’ll bring some party poppers….


Gareth Thomas and his magical storeroom 😉

15 thoughts on “Passing Time

    • Thanks Pat. Do you mean us all climbing up the tower or spending NYE 2013 in the Festival Gardens? Or both? 😉 Happy New Year by the way!


      • Sorry Kate, I think we will have to settle for New Year in
        the Festival Gardens,As the tower is on an island I think
        H&S would rule out opening it to the public ,How about
        a prize in a Heritage week quiz a trip up the tower.


  1. Great blog again Kate, your very kind 🙂 and great idea about celebrating the clocks 150th Birthday, maybe speak with Lichfield City Council, peter young or maybe something LDC could explore?


    • Thanks Gaz! I shall definitely make enquiries! I spoke to my Mum last night and she is very excited about the idea of having a party in the Festival Gardens, so watch out Lichfield!


  2. Just to say we went walking at Christian Fields (because January 2 is the Feast Day of the Holy Martyrs of Lichfield), so I stole some of the information from your post on the site. I do hope you don’t mind, and I did include a link to your blog.


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  4. Another great read Kate, is this fascination with time a thing we do around this time of year? Brownhills Bob has just posted a really well written entry about the Brownhills Council House Clock. I also have been writing about clocks too.

    This concept of an obsession with time an intriguing subject, time pieces becoming an interoperable part of the landscape. It is such a complex concept, rigorously analysed by philosophers, physicists and astronomers….

    My interest is history and the systematic study of the past, therefore at its heart is time. With my interest in history I try to take a practical viewpoint, and am interested in the effects of passing of time on human memory, and how we chunk our past up into manageable chunks, based on time, relationships and places and how we have used time as a device to create pegs to hang the past on.

    I also have discovered a gem of a time piece at a little known church in Tirley, Gloucestershire. Its has to be one of the finest examples of recycling in the good old fashioned way, and ironically, a monument to the life of a very ordinary man….

    ….a very ordinary man, who could tell remarkable stories.

    Take a look at this


    • Thanks David. What a coincidence that all three of us have written independently about clocks! It must be to do with the concept of time looming large at this time of year!

      The story of your clock is fabulous. I love the idea of recycling like this. I also really like the idea of recycling bits of old buildings, so that even if they have been demolished, they live on somehow. Really enjoying reading your work on this and your Sandfields blog 🙂


  5. I would love to have a look inside the Lichfield clock tower. My grandad rebuilt the clock tower and I was told there is some sort of a plaque inside with the names of the builders on, would love to find out if this is true. His name was Samuel Thomas Griffiths, I have passed it many times and always wondered.


    • Hi Joanne. Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I am going to send an email to suggest it. Whilst it would be really interesting for all those of us who pass the clock, it would be extra special for you, with your wonderful family connection! I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a plaque, and quite right that there should be one too! I’ll keep you updated!


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  7. Reported in the Lichfield Mercury on the 19th Jan 1912, concerning the heavy snowstorm…

    Not for many years has there been such a snowstorm…in the Lichfield district, as in other places, the utmost inconvenience has been felt…the clock on the Conduit Tower “struck”at twenty five minutes past three on Wednesday, and yesterday it performed its duties in a most erratic fashion…


    • That’s great great I love that ‘performed its duties in a most erratic fashion!’. As someone very technically minded, I wonder how exactly how snow affected the workings?


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