Repairs to Terry’s famous clock are now underway – 7 pictures

One of the distinctive dials is winched into place. Photographs: Jill Burdett
3 Dec 2019 @ 8.03 am
| Environment

One of York’s most striking landmarks could soon be back to its best.

Work to reinstall the four restored dials of the landmark Terry’s clock tower began on Monday (2 December).

The distinctive dials were being craned to the top of the 100ft tower and put back into place by experts from clockmakers Smiths of Derby.

Quite an operation
It is the first stage of an ambitious project by the PJ Livesey Group to restore the clock back to working order and give the tower new use by converting the space into 22 unique properties.

Director James Woodmansee said:

  • Terry’s clock tower is a fundamental part of York’s history and it will be a significant moment for the city to have it working again.

    This is the first phase and we anticipate the clock mechanism will be installed towards the end of next year as the conversion works complete.

Clock mechanism disappeared

Workers manipulate one of the restored dials
The clock tower is one of five Grade II listed buildings that make up the purpose-built Terry’s factory estate.

The factory closed in 2005 and the buildings stood vacant for a decade before being bought by a developer.

Manchester based PJ Livesey began converting the main building into apartments in 2015 and it is now called The Residence.

With the main building completed planning was approved to convert the Clock Tower into 22 apartments incorporating a new extension.

You need a head for heights for this work

Between the site closing and PJ Livesey starting work on the clock tower the original mechanism – a rare Electric Turret Clock – disappeared and PJ Livesey commissioned Smiths of Derby to try and source identical parts from the same era to make a new mechanism.

The firm’s technical sales consultant Peter Sully said:

  • It has taken 18 months of detective work across the country but we managed to track down identical parts and are now in a position to make the mechanism.

    It has been a very demanding process but it will be very satisfying to see the clock working again.

‘Kitchen clock’

The scaffolding will soon come down
The clock dials bear the words TERRY YORK in place of numerals and as it can be seen far and wide across York was referred to as ‘the kitchen clock’ by some locals.

Work to install the four clock dials will take several days after which scaffolding around the tower will be removed.

Convert the space into new homes is expected to take 12 months. The apartments which will be released for sale from next May.

History in the remaking
How Terry’s used to look. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

The final part of the project will be the creation of a separate floor to the clock level space to allow managed public access on a set number of days each year.

Three boards, telling the story of Terry’s, the original clock manufacturers Gents, and the PJ Livesey Project will be displayed there.