Sneinton St Stephen


The two faces of the clock
on the north and west.
(There are no faces on the
east and south sides.)

The clock set in the tower of St Stephen’s Church is one of the oldest working public clocks in the City of Nottingham. It was installed as part of the original design of the 1839 church by the architects Rickman and Hussey, funding being donated by the Misses Tomlin who also worked with the poor of the parish.

It was manufactured and installed by local clockmakers R Bosworth and Company who, in 1845, sold their business to another local company, G F Cope. Cope’s maintained the clock for over a century.

The clock has two 6ft (1.8m) diameter white glass faces on the West and North sides of the tower, with the chapter ring, Roman numerals and hands made of black painted cast iron. A gilded outer ring adds a touch of contrast. The clock is now illuminated by electric lights within the tower; originally it was lit by gas lights. The clock has tandem spring suspension, and an armchair striking mechanism sounding the hour. It now has auto-wind mechanism.

From 1990 to 1993 the clock stood silent, needing major repairs. The cost of £13,000 was raised, and the Derby clockmakers John Smith and Sons undertook the work which was completed in June 1993. The City council designated the clock a public clock in 1997, accepting responsibility for its up-keep and it has remained in good working order since that date, making it a focal point of the community.

Other clocks by Bosworth and Company are located at Strelley Parish Church Nottingham, and Bonsall Parish Church Derbyshire. Bosworth was an apprentice to the renown Derby clockmaker J Whitehurst, as was John Smith of Derby.