Monday, 16 January 2017

An 1860's Scottish Grandfather Clock by James Peat, Carluke


Grandfather Clock by James Peat,
Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland, c.1860's

Having already featured two Grandfather [longcase] Clocks in my possession this is the third and final one, being sold by Watchmaker and Jeweller James Peat of Chapel Street, Carluke in Lanarkshire Scotland around the 1860's. This blog features not only a video of the clock and melodious bell chime [at the bottom of this page] but also a delightful poem which I stumbled across quite by accident in a local paper and dates, rather appropriately, from 1861. "The Old Eight Day Clock" very aptly reflects how I feel about this lovely old timepiece (which has an eight-day brass mechanism) so I am pleased to bring the clock and poem together in this blog.

This clock, which is now around 150 years old, has probably been in family ownership since 1872 when my Gt. Grandfather took out a nineteen year lease on the farm of 'Candermains' near Stonehouse in Lanarkshire. While I note a family loan of £250.0.0 to James Peat "Watchmaker of Carluke" and his wife Agnes Shirlaw in November 1875 I cannot make any direct link with the clock so can only assume that my family purchased it second hand. Whether the connection to James Peat (also possibly a family connection by marriage) played any part in my family choosing this clock I could not say. 

Although James Peat is known to have been in business in Carluke from at least July 1871 we cannot, from surviving records, accurately determine an earlier date. The style of this clock would however strongly indicate that it dates from the 1860’s. The mechanism and enamelled face plate, most likely both made in Birmingham, would have been bought in with the mahogany and veneer case being manufactured by or for the Watchmaker in Carluke. Peat died in Carluke on the 24th April 1910 aged 62 years so working on his own by the mid 1860's is certainly plausible. Peat's wife Agnes died on the 29th August 1894 aged 42 years.


A "Watchpaper" from James Peat of Carluke
placed inside a double-pair case pocket watch
for cushioning and as advertising
[From my own collection]

My late Great Aunt knew at the very least that this clock was in her parent's possession at "Candermains" by 1883. But an accurate timepiece such as a Grandfather clock was then practically a necessity which leads me to believe that it would most likely have been purchased nearer the start of the tenancy. The clock eventually came to New Zealand in early 1911 when my family emigrated from Scotland and it passed into my ownership upon my Scottish born Great Aunt's death in 1978. I am now the fourth generation in my family to own this clock.

I find the sound of a grandfather clock chiming a comforting sound, especially during the night. The plate glass on the face door, being slightly wavy, is certainly original and very thin. Considering the moves the clock has witnessed (around seven), plus additionally being shipped half way around the world, it is probably a miracle that it has not been broken. The enamel painting could be considered somewhat näive in style, especially in the arch, and no doubt reflects the mass produced nature of such items in the mid Victorian era, but is nonetheless charming. With an annual clean, oil and occasional full service by a qualified horologist this clock will easily see out another 150 years and spare parts are even now fairly readily available. 

Here is the poem I referred to (I have omitted one verse), being published as "Original Poetry" in the "Otago Witness", Dunedin, New Zealand on the 17th August 1861, the author being "Robin" which is possibly a non de plume. I will add detail relating to the painted enamel clock face under each image (click images for full size) :  

"The Old Eight-Day Clock

The old eight day clock
That stands by the wall,
Proclaiming the hours
From morn to nightfall,
With its gentle click, click,
And musical strike,
Cheering the gloom
Of the shadowy night. 


The theme is "Commerce" showing "Britannia"
with a Trident Surveying the Continents.

The old eight-day clock
Is a family heir-loom;
It witnessed our birth,
And youth's rosy bloom;
It has clicked while fond hearts 
Did in wedlock unite;
It has clicked while the spirit
Has taken its flight.


"Britannia" with her Trident and Laurel headdress in a
Harbour Scene representing Commerce and World 
Trade Incl. a world globe, an anchor, a sailing vessel, 
steamship, bales of cotton, coconuts(?),
 a barrel, and a Steam Locomotive.

The old eight-day clock
It heralds the morn,
Invites us to labour,
And calls our return;
With its homely click, click,
And bell sounding clear,
Bids our toil-wearied spirits
Take comfort and cheer. 


The East(?) with a Camel and Headdress

The old eight-day clock,
In youth's early day,
Fixed the hours for the task
And the hours for our play -
When we frolicked about,
Like a kit on the earth,
Till it chimed the late hour,
Bade us cease from our mirth,


The Middle East (?)

The old eight-day clock,
When with sickness oppressed,
How I longed for the click
That lulled me to rest!
Or if sleep was denied,
How I longed for the morn
In beauty sublime!


The Americas (?)
with headdress, bow, and alligator

The old eight-day clock
Like a sentinel stands
Keeping watch over time
With its spear-arm'd hands
No hour can go past,
No seconds can slip,
But it rings out a challenge
And warning click, click.

Africa (?) with a black woman and Elephant

The old eight-day clock,
Its beauty doth fade,
It's gilding is dim
And its varnish decayed;
But (like old age in man, 
Tho' beauty doth wane
The pulse still keeps time)
Its click is the same.

Grandfather Clock by James Peat,
Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland,
The door is "flame" mahogany
circa 1860's

The old eight-day clock
That stands by the wall
may teach us a lesson,
A moral for all,
To improve fleeting time
As its minutes fly past,
And live every hour
As if it were but our last

(By "Robin")


A three Minute Video of the Clock 
Working and Bell Striking

Copyright : All images are from my own personal collection and maybe freely copied for non-commercial and academic use provided this site is acknowledged. 

Sources :

- Robert S. McLeish, Carluke Parish Historical Society 
- Papers Past [National Library of New Zealand / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa]
- The "Otago Witness", Dunedin, New Zealand, 1861
- "Scottish Clockmakers" by Felix Hudson
- Edinburgh City Central Library Reference Reading Room
- Scotland's People website

Video produced with Windows Live Movie Maker, Virtual Dub cropping and Xvid Codec compression.

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