Saturday, 17 April 2010

Leeds in Bloom - Oakwood Clock

Designed by Leeming and Leeming and made in 1904 by Potts and Sons of Guildford Street Leeds. The clock was originally the centrepiece of Leeds New Market Hall (1904) but alterations to the building made it obsolete and the decision was made to move it to Oakwood in 1912.

Originally a gravity hand-wound striking clock the mechanism was removed in 1941 (re-used in Leck Church, Lancashire) and a self-starting synchronous movement was fitted, the bell was broken up and used for scrap.

Potts and Sons made many clocks for Leeds including those in Thornton's Arcade (with figures by JW Appleyard), The Griffin Hotel and the clock on the Stable Block in Roundhay Park. Going off the point a bit, there seems to be some confusion in the books about Leeds as to who built the clock in the Grand Arcade - were Robert James and Joseph Potts of Leeds part of the same family and company? For readers wanting more information on Potts there is a flicker group of photographs of the clocks and a book on the history of the firm.

The company joined the Smith of Derby Group in 1933, but possibly still have a base in Leeds? Not any longer - see notes from Michael Potts below.

The canvas was chartered by Ann Wheatley and the piece was started by Maureen Carr and finished by Godfrey Harland (Godfrey spent 199 hours working on it).

Additional notes supplied by Michael S Potts, direct descendant of Robert and William and collector and researcher of clocks made by the Potts Family:

1. The firm's name was Wm. Potts & Sons in 1904 and apart from the addition of "Limited" a few years later it has remained the same to the present day. Robert, James and Joseph were William's sons who joined the firm. In the end five consecutive generations of the family were involved in clockmaking.
2. the Oakwood clock movement is now at Leck Church.
3. The firm installed over a hundred public clocks in Leeds between 1858 and 1934, not all of which have survived, but many have. Thornton's, Queen's, Grand, and Market Arcades all had clocks. Other significant buildings in the city centre that can be seen today are The Corn Exchange (1862), Griffin Hotel (1877), General Post Office (1895), Leeds Parish Church (1898), Holy Trinity Church(1902).
4. The firm joined Smith of Derby in 1934. They no longer have a base in Leeds.

Thank you Michael

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