TIDAL CLOCKS

This is a new area of interest.

We are collecting information and images on longcase and table clocks which show times of high water at ports and harbours around the coasts of the UK. In addition to times, some clocks show heights of high water and others have automata which show the tide rising and falling at the appropriate times. 

Click on the images in the gallery below to see some examples.

We were delighted to trace a musical bracket clock by Chester maker John Wrench.  It dates from the early eighteenth century and was made in the area of Chester once known as Gloverstone.  John Wrench lived and worked there for at least thirty years before moving into the centre of Chester. The lunar dial has been specifically engraved to show the time of high water at the port of Chester. When setting up the clock, the moon disc needs to be rotated and set to show the correct lunar day at the top indicated by the small brass pointer. The clock was made before the River Dee, which is tidal below the weir, was straightened, meaning that the times of high water may now differ by a few minutes. Times of high water are shown in Roman numerals.

Click the images for a larger view.

A wall clock with tidal information by Joseph Finney of Liverpool has been auctioned recently. It relies not on Roman numerals but on a tidal disc with paintings of ships and rock formations to show the state of the tide in ‘real time’. The clock is in need of restoration, but the images below will give an idea of how the tide is indicated.

If any readers have information or images of clocks with tidal information they are willing to share, please get in touch. You can email us on steveanddarlah@inbeat.org