The Kings Head Clock Restoration and Unveiling!
Time Flies; The restoration, relocation and reveal of The King’s Head Clock
Sandwell council are reaching their deadline for the restoration and relocation of The King’s Head Clock, a local treasure that was originally installed outside of The King’s Head coaching station (that’s us!) in 1900. Fittingly, we have been asked to get in on the action, holding the reception for the grand unveiling on Saturday the 24th October 2015.
The clock was one of Birmingham’s famous ‘Chamberlain Clocks’, and helped to service the trams in the city. The base of the column also served as a horse trough and a supply of water for public use. The clock faces were originally gas lit and it was necessary to hand wind the clock once a week. It was later used for the buses through Bearwood and Harborne, and was in demand as The King’s Head became a major ‘stop-off’ point on the Outer-Circle bus route in the 1920’s.
Sadly, as the inscription states, “Tempus Fugit” or “Time Flies”, and in 1971 The King’s Head Clock was removed for road widening. It was renovated, fitted with new electric clock mechanism and has been standing, out of place, at the junction of High Street and Union Street in Birmingham City Centre since the City Engineers Department moved it on 1st April 1979. The maker of the original clockwork drive unit was Arthur Walker (1871-1948) who carried out his trade as a clockmaker from 1900. His gear cutting machine and other accessories are kept at The Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, Newall Street. The cast iron components that include, the column, turret and crown, were made by J & A Law Ironfounders, Glasgow.
Richard Perry, Manager of The King’s Head said, “We are delighted to be a part of such a fantastic project. Restoring The King’s Head Clock to its former glory is a great piece of local history – and its relocation to just across the road from where it was originally placed is a real testament to Sandwell Council. We’re proud to be able to hold the reception for the event here at our venue. It feels like it’s the right place to welcome back the clock”.
The setting for the clock hasn’t changed much. The postcard above shows the clock standing outside our venue – once known as ‘Ye Olde King’s Head’ – which was built around the same time as the clock was located in its original position. We have faithfully kept its ‘Tudorbethan’ look and to this day it remains as a popular drinking spot and eatery for locals and travellers alike. Bringing the Chamberlain Clock back will certainly not be done in vain, as locals have been waiting over a year for news of its completion.
The unveiling ceremony for the reconditioned King’s Head Clock is to be held on Saturday the 24th October at 10:00am at its new location on the corner of Bearwood High Street and the Hagley Road. We will host the reception for the attendees after the event, which is said to include civic dignitaries such as the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Sandwell and Birmingham Council leaders.
See you there!