Stopped Clocks

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Here’s an interesting project. aims to catalogue Britain’s thousands of stopped clocks on high streets and in villages, and then work with the people involved to get them started again.

There’s something a bit sad about a stopped clock – it suggests all is not well with the world.

From the site’s creator:

I once took a walk around a square mile in central London, I found 11 stopped clocks, either Municipal clocks, church clocks or otherwise public clocks. After poking about and doing some research, I discovered that it really does not cost much to fix a clock, as there is a tendency within clock repair to replace very old clock mechanisms with a mix of digital and analogue mechanisms. For an average of £1,000, each of the clocks that I found could be repaired.

Clocks in the public sphere were once really vital – not everyone had watches, let alone wrist-watches until the early 70’s – you needed to be able to see what the time was and so they truly had a public function. Nowadays, with digital watches and mobile phones being the norm, the function of these clocks has disappeared.

As a metaphor for our relationship with our past I think that stopped clocks are a potent symbol of the loss of our analogue past, how almost unknowingly we left behind so much when we entered this digital age. I hope you enjoy the blog, and will help me create a deep database of stopped clocks around the country, with the aim of getting them fixed.

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