From a time when motorways were a dream and drivers could read the time from a clock at the side of the road comes the Kendal Leyland clock.
Originally sited on the A6 at Shap the clock was moved to the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre in 1973.
Confusion exists as to how many of these clocks were installed at various locations around the UK.
Some reports indicate 11 being installed and some indicate only seven or five.
Leyland Clocks were located at prominent positions on major UK roads in the 1930s by Leyland Motors Limited.
The towers were designed by Franco Reflex Signs of London and the mechanism by William Potts and Sons Limited, clockmakers of Leeds.
The location was chosen to mark the half-way point between Lands End and John O’Groats.
Lenore Knowles recalls the harsh winters of many years before and tells the story of her family’s role as keepers of the Leyland clock – a former landmark on the A6 north of Kendal. The Jungle Café was a popular transport café on this stretch of the A6. Hear her memories here.
The outer shell of the clock was removed and preserved in the 1970s. But the clock’s innards were only found after an appeal by local enthusiasts.
A £2,500 restoration project was funded by Cumbria Steam and Vintage Vehicle Society after an appeal by local vintage vehicle enthusiast Tim Holt.
The clock now has pride of place at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre.
A retired GP from Carlisle discovered the missing workings of the clock in items left to him by a former patient 20 years ago.
At the foot of the clock’s stand is a slate plaque explaining it all.
Other Leyland clock locations include
- On the top of Shap
- halfway between Catterick and Boroughbridge
- The Bath Road, 3 mile E of Calne
- the London Basingstoke road, 39 miles from London, 7 from Basingstoke
- the Great North Road, 70 miles from London.
- close to the Shack Café on the A30 at Hook in Hampshire
- Here is a photograph of the one situated on a roundabout in Leyland
Update – Oct ’08
The Cumberland News is reporting that the clock is undergoing further restoration.
The work is being carried out by volunteers from Cumbria Steam & Vintage Vehicle Society.
‘It is the latest move in a £2,500 restoration funded by the society, which will see the monument fit for another 75 years’ service’ the article goes on to say.
Repainting the clock faces is shown in this BBC slideshow
Leyland Clock – Restoration update Oct 2010
The BBC is reporting that the Leyland Clock is being re-installed after restoration. A ceremony is due to take place on Sunday, 31 October 2010 at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal.
Lenore Knowles, who for many years wound the clock on Shap, will be one of the guests of honour.
As part of the celebrations a number of vintage vehicles are to travel from Carlisle to Kendal. They are to stop at the top of Shap fell around 10.30am before continuing to the Brewery Arts Centre.
The original workings have been stored away from the clock ‘for safe keeping’. It is thought that they maybe going on display in the Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow.
A second set of workings have been restored and returned to the clock, to allow it it to tell the time for visitors.
The restoration of the clock follows a £2500 fund raising campaign.
Brian Ellis has sent in his list of clock positions
The Lostock Hall Clock:
This was the prototype ans was sited on the A5083 (then known as the A667) south of Lostock Hall in Lancashire at the juction with Cuerdale Lane in early 1930. this clock was removed in the early 1960s.
The Lea Clock:
This one was sited on the A583 at Lea in Lancashire near the Lea Gate Hotel. This was the first of the ‘proper’ clocks. It was originally trialled near the Leyland Motors South Works for six months until being moved to Lea in 1931.
The Shap Clock:
This one was located on the A6, north of the Jungle Cafe approx. one and a half miles south of Shap summit. It was removed in 1970 and kept in storage in Kendal until it was re-erected in the yard of Kendal Arts Centre.
The Healam Bridge Clock:
This one was at Healam Bridge near Leeming on the A1. It was removed to Plawsworth on the A167 in 1955 and when finally dismantled was sent back to Leyland Motors. It was subsequently overhauled, then packed & shipped to the main Leyland agents in Sydney, Australia.
The Cherhill Clock:
This clock was sited near on the A4 near Calne in Wiltshire near to the Cherhill White Horse ancient monument. It was removed when the A4 underwent widening works in 1965.
The Hook Clock:
This clock was sited on the corner of the grounds of the Shack Cafe on the A30 near Hook, Hampshire. It is believed that this clock was removed in the late 50s – early 60s and is now on display in Cobham Bus Museum.
The Alconbury Clock:
This was sited on a low hill known as ‘Vinegar Hill’ on the A1 at Alconbury in Cambridgeshire. It stood in the grounds of a private house and disappeared when the then owner moved out. It was eventually traced to Rushden in Northamptonshire and is now in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
The Daventry Bypass Clock:
This clock was located on the A425 Daventry Bypass at its junction with thw A45 near the Maple Leaf Garage. It was removed in 1966 to a garage in Salford where it is believed to remain.
The Capetown Clock:
This clock was originally sent to the Leyland Motors Ltd Service Centre in Capetown, South Africa in 1934. Not much is known about this clock (including its ultimate fate) apart from the fact that it was electric rather than mechanical like all the others.
The Centenary Clock:
This is a replica of the Shap Clock which was built as a show piece for the ‘Leyland 100’ celebrations on 2nd June 1996. The clock now stands on the roundabout at the intersection of Hough Lane, Churchill Way, Chapel Brow, East Street and Turpin Green Lane in Leyland, Lancashire.