Several retailers at Handpicked Hall in the Grand Arcade, Leeds, have got together to organise the ‘Save the Grand Clock’ campaign.
We are trying to bring the building’s famous animated clock back to life by raising the £25,000 needed to restore the mechanism of the clock.
The clock was designed and made by Leeds Clockmakers Robert, James and Joseph Potts. The firm of William Potts and Sons Ltd. became established in Leeds in the 19th Century. William Potts was originally from Durham but settled here in 1833, first in Pudsey Chapeltown, then Bankfield Terrace, Burley, in the 1860s.
The photo below shows the intricate mechanism which operates the unusual clock in the Grand Arcade. Many of the public clocks in the city are Potts clocks and are still repaired and maintained by the firm. When the change is made from British Summertime to Greenwich Meantime and vice-versa, it takes a team of maintenance workers 36 hours to reset all the clocks in the city.
As the clock strikes the hour the figures emerge on a revolving stage. A guardsman salutes, the Scotsman wearing Highland dress bows, there is an Irishman with a Shillelagh, a Canadian and an Indian. As the figures rotate back into the clock a cockerel crows and flaps its wings from a position above the dial.
Wm Potts & Sons were very pleased to be associated with this clock and described it as the greatest horological of the century. In 1938 the clock was removed from over the Harrison Street entrance at the side of the arcade and relocated to its present position above the Vicar Lane entrance.
In 1950/1 Charles Potts converted the clock to automatic electric winding and carried out a major restoration of the clock and the automata.
We are launching the Grand Clock Fund on Saturday 31st August at 3pm and will be taking donations from then onwards.
Do you remember the clock when the clock chimed and the figures moved in and out of the doors? Please leave your memories below in the comments section, we’d love to hear about them.
EDIT:: Watch a video about the clock restoration from Leeds Today http://www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/sites/cfj/archive/pages/programme-02-09-2013.aspx You can see the article at 13:39mins