I recently wrote about the clock in an article entitled A clock and a canal, and said that I would post any further information about this timepiece should it become available.
I decided to go straight to the source by emailing J. Smith & Sons, or Smiths Metal Centres Ltd, as they are now called. They were kind enough to respond to my enquiry and to allow me to publish two photographs of the clock from their archives.
Unfortunately, with the passage of time, documents have been misplaced and it is now difficult to recover a complete history of the clock, though the search continues and – who knows? – may eventually bear fruit.
It appears that the clock was indeed built by Smith’s themselves who, as you may recall, started as manufacturers of clocks. It is not known exactly when the clock was installed or how soon after installation this photo was taken.
The following photo shows another interesting stage in our story.
When first installed, the clock required winding every 8 days, a duty that was by covenant incumbent on Smiths themselves. I don’t know how long this remained the case but eventually – in the 1980s, it is thought – the original movement was replaced by an electric one and the photo shows this work taking place.
The photo also shows that by this time, the clock has been raised on a brick plinth, perhaps to make it more visible over the traffic or for some other reason. That plinth had disappeared by the time I made the acquaintance of the clock in 2005.
The Smith & Sons clock is not giving up its secrets easily but I am not defeated yet! I have contacted Islington Council to see whether anyone there knows anything or whether there are records that I might manage to see. I will pass on any information that I obtain.
Above is a picture of the clock as it appears today. (The workman’s gloves have been removed but it could do with a wash around the lower part.) I think it looks very handsome indeed and hope it will remain in place for many years to come.
See Researching the Angel Clock for further information on this clock.