CH Hall 1906

   hrist's Hospital, Hertford  closed in 1985, and the recent discovery of several, rare Victorian and Edwardian photographs, showing the clock in situ between about c1899 and 1906, prove beyond doubt that it looked down on the pupils in the Hertford dining room from at least between c1899-1985, as another photograph, this one in colour, shows the clock in the same position shortly before it was removed in 1985.


However, having assumed the clock was originally gifted to the Hertford School in 1879 - this most recent photograph offers up an intriguing twist to the story. The c1899 photos of the dining room show the walls to be somewhat spartan. The later pictures around 1906 show decorative gasoliers hung from the ceiling and a distinctive heraldic frieze and stylised ‘corbels’ fixed to the walls. These items were salvaged before the London Schools’ demolition. It is interesting to speculate that the interrupted decoration atop the frieze clearly matches the same style of decoration atop the slanting ‘roof’ of the clock-case. Even the gilded boundary of each of the heraldic badges of the schools’ former presidents, running along the entire length of the frieze, bears a close connection to the gilded door on the clock case! It is not, I think, fanciful to suggest that the clock’s connection to Christ’s began during 1879 at the school’s historic birthplace  in Newgate, London - where, from my research I am now convinced the clock spent about the first 20 years of its life in the London School - before being salvaged and moved to Hertford - sometime after 1897- once it had  been decided that the London school was to close.


































Victorian Photograph c1899

Showing the clock in situ, hanging in the Dining Hall of Christ's Hospital Hertford

The clock in situ on the opposite wall in the re-furnished Dining Hall of C.H Hertford in 1906. New additions to the Hall had come from London CH after its closure in 1902.


   would like to thank Mike Barford and his team at the Christ's Hospital Museum in Horsham, who  have been so kind and helpful by researching this clock and Mr Willcox for me. Also for supplying me with the Victorian and Edwardian photographs and allowing me to use them along with other previous printed documents and information on Christ's Hospital and B.A Willcox for this website. Also many thank's to Christ's Hospital for giving me some original blank frieeze and finilas to mount each side of the clock. - I am truly grateful!

click an image to view

Below - showing an Edwardian Photograph c1906


   would like to thank Phyllis Hoffman (a former pupil of CH Hertford) for supplying and allowing me to use her colour photograph of the Hertford Dining Hall with the clock in situ c1985 - which shows that the unusual clock case top mouldling was  made to match the Newgate frieze top moulding - suggesting to me that the clock probably spent about the first 20 years of its life hanging with the frieze in the London Christ's Hospital School where it was originally gifted by Mr B. A. Willcox -  before being salvaged and moved to Hertford - sometime after 1897- when it had just been decided that the London school was to close.

Below, showing another Victorian photograph of the clock in situ c1899

Images of Christ's Hospital, London

Images of Christ's Hospital, Hertford


Showing pupils in the Dining Hall with the clock in situ 3rd March 1953


Christ's Hospital, Hertford

      hen the Christ's Hospital School, Hertford closed in 1985, the clock was removed from its pride of place in the Dining Hall and 25 years later appeared at a public auction. The auction was held by Gardiner Houlgate on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd October 2010, Lot no. 1605 – where it failed to reach a reserve price. I purchased the clock in October 2013 from a respected antique clock dealer in the South West of England, who was totally unaware of the clocks fascinating historical background and provenance, but thankfully had the sense and sensitivity to leave the clock in its totally original, untouched and complete condition. It was not until after I had purchased the clock that its amazing history and provenance started to unfold.  However the question had to be asked – how did this wonderfully historical and magnificent giant wall clock become separated from Christ’s Hospital and what happened to the clock between 1985 and 2010?  Having now researched the matter further – I have found that although the clock was not listed in their catalogue or sold at Christ’s Hospital Hertford’s own auction held around the time of  the schools closure in 1985 – there is a very interesting typed document which has recently come to light with extracts from a listing that was prepared of items which were at Christ’s Hospital Hertford in 1984 - and this original document not only lists Mr Wilcox’s clock as being in the Dining Hall, but also - hand written in pencil and next to the clock’s listing – is the word ‘ sell ‘. Christ’s Hospital clearly show here that they had intentions to sell the clock and we can only assume now that - they did sell the clock (perhaps to a private individual) and this explains why the clock eventually turned up at a public auction some 25 years later. This is an important document because it explains how the clock that Mr Wilcox had custom made - to serve its pupils back in 1879 sadly became parted from Christ’s Hospital in 1985.


  n November 2014, Christ's Hospital kindly gave me two seperate five foot lengths of  original blank fieeze and two original finials to place each side of the clock - this has not only allowed me to re-unite the clock with some of it's original surroundings - but when in place - will also allow me to virtually replicate the clock's appearence of how it originally looked in the Hertford Dining Hall - keeping it's fabulous historical background alive!





hope that you find the above interesting!



omments are most welcome, please Contact  Lee Borrett


Colour photo of 1985 shows the clock top frieze moulding matches the  London frieze




The Clock - Life after Christ's Hospital

Below shows:-

Written in pencil 

The word 'sell ' can be clearly seen next to the clock's listing

Extracts from a listing that was prepared - showing items which were at Christ's Hospital, Hertford in 1984. The Wilcox clock and measurements are listed. 


Savage Hood

ichard Savage


   he 10inch solid brass dial has cherub head spandrels, attached meeting arrow heads with 'C' scrolls for half hour markers and retains its superb original single iron hand. A rare feature used by Savage on this clock is that he signed the chapter ring 'R Savage of Salop'. The inclusion of the word 'of ' from a 17th century clockmaker normally points to a clockmakers earliest period of working and although I have seen more than a few of Richard Savages clocks with 'de' in his signatures (meaning 'of') - the clock illustrated here is the only example that I have seen so far - signed 'of '. Another very rare feature used by Savage here is that amazingly the dial has been made from two separate pieces of waste brass or off cuts from other dials etc. Richard Savage began making this dial by joining the two separate pieces together but he has not hammered out the castellated join enough on the front side - so that even after he has matted it - one can still see the join when you look at the front of the dial. Maybe he was just being sparing with brass, perhaps short (temporarily) of brass, or of money, or had a customer willing to accept less than perfect if he got a cheaper clock. However having now studied many of Richard Savage dials - it is clear that they are all high quality one piece dials and in my opinion Savage would not have been using the long winded and time consuming method of castellated dials together - resulting in seeing the unsightly join on front of dial - after having gained several years experience in making clocks - unless the example illustrated here could possibly be a very early example by Savage dating from the c1680s during his early period and at a time that money was very tight for him and before he had built up a good reputation. Apart from the early form of signing and the castellated join mentioned above - the dial is typical Richard Savage - (a) It has Savages unique way of fixing the dial to movement by the upper iron L shaped bracket which is riveted to dial and then fixes on top of iron top plate of movement by a screw and pin - (b) and a lower dial lug is pinned through lower movement - exactly same features and locations as others I have owned and seen by him.







Savage Dial trimmed Savage Dial centre

          to excite me in one way or another. I do find Savage's early work most interesting, and although many of his early clocks all seem to have very similar features to both his dials and movements - like the goblet shaped collets and iron top and bottom plates for example - they each have their own unique charm and character about them which makes them different to each other and very desirable to a collector. The Richard Savage hooded wall clock illustrated here, came to light recently and does not disappoint. Possibly made from around the late 1680s, it is the most primitive example that I have seen by this interesting early Shropshire maker. It is a rare and exciting find which gives us a further insight into some of  Richard Savages earliest working practises.













Savage Sig trimmed


Richard Savages castlellated join clearly shows in the dial centre. A rare and early feature used by Savage. The superb long iron hand is original.

Showing a rare feature by Richard Savage. The inclusion of the word 'of ' in a signature - usually points to a clockmakers earliest period of working.

Showing the 10 inch brass dial of the Richard Savage hooded wall clock.


A side movement picture showing - (a) Savages unique way of fixing the dial to movement by the upper iron L shaped bracket which is riveted to dial and then fixes on top of iron top plate of movement by a screw and pin - (b) and a lower dial lug is pinned through lower movement center bar. The fabulous goblet shaped collets, lantern pillars and iron top and bottom plates are all typical features by Richard Savage.


Showing a close up of the cherub head spandrel.

Showing a close up of the cherub head spandrel.

Savage Dial Reverse Trimmed


Spittl B 450

© West Linton Historical Association.    Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

Salop, c1680s

ichard Savage

Late 1680s


th century clocks by Richard Savage of Shrewsbury never fail


ot only is the clock (which is illustrated below) very interesting

        in its own right and made by the earliest domestic clockmaker  in the county of Shropshire from whom work is known to survive today, but it also has a fascinating and historical provenance - which is also revealed below!


Showing a side view of the Richard Savage hooded wall clock