Now that Big Ben has chimed for the last time until 2021, we look at four other famous clocks around London.
One very famous London clock is located at renowned department store Liberty London. The store itself is designed in Tudor Revival style, and the clock is located above an arch which crosses Kingly Street. It features a carving of Father Time in relief, Roman Numerals, and an inscription which reads “No minute gone comes ever back again take heed and see ye nothing do in vain”. However, the most famous part of this distinctive clock is the presence of St George on a white steed and a dragon on opposite sides. On the quarter hours, St George chases the dragon around the clock, and on the hour, he slays it.
Another well-known clock is the astronomical clock located at Bracken House in the City of London. Its most unusual feature is the face of British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the centre. This is due to his close friendship with former Financial Times chairman Bernard Bracken who once owned the building. This clock is also unusual because it has no hands, the time is told by an outer dial which rotates to indicate the hour. The month and date are also shown in this unusual way.
Liberty is not the only well-known London department store to feature a distinctive clock, Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly has one too. Commissioned in 1964, Fortnum’s clock pays tribute to its founders William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. Featuring four-foot statues of the famous founders which appear every hour to chimes and 18th Century music, this clock is a London landmark. Additionally, despite not being able to hear Big Ben for a number of years you will still be able to hear bells from the same place as Fortnum’s clock eighteen bells – each representing the century of its foundation – were also created in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
One great London landmark is the Swiss Clock and Glockenspiel located in the famous Leicester Square. The current clock is a replica as the original was destroyed as part of the demolishment of the Swiss Centre in 2008. The clock which currently stands on the site was constructed in 2011 and was rebuilt by Westminster Council. The restored clock is controlled remotely from Derby and every hour the little figurines which represent Swiss farmers move.
All these famous clocks and more are available around London so if you are missing Big Ben’s chimes, do not despair! There are plenty more sites and some fantastic clocks to enjoy around the city.
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