Pre Found it (rescue
phase I) ...
Clarke (DGS 1970-1977) via Facebook page on 24th June 2012
of you may recall that after the Causeway (Victoria Road)
site closed, Diss Infants School moved to Shelfanger Road
for a couple of years (c1985 to c1987) whilst waiting for
the Fitzwalter Road site to be extended. At this time, I
believe that the old DGS site was called Taylor Hall, and
it was still in used as a satellite of the High School. My
father (Denis Clarke) was the caretaker for the Infants School
for 21 years, so he served at all three of their sites. Whilst
he was at Taylor Hall, one of the other caretakers was Sid
Sharp. My father tells me that it was Sid who rescued the
DGS clock, wrapped it in some old cloths, and took it to
the Uplands site. So now you all know how it got there!"
our founder tells us how the clock was re-found:
At one of the first meeting of Old Dysseans that Dennis set up
in a pub in 1998/99 someone mentioned that the school clock was
still in existence and was probably at Diss High School.
who was a school governor at the High School did some digging
around and sure enough the clock was found.
High School was reluctant to let the clock out of their hands
or sight even, understandably so, but they also did not want
to do anything with it. So ....
tells us how the clock was recovered:
I heard that the clock was at Diss High School. As my job involves
contacting and visiting the school, I offered to collect it.
headmaster at that time refused to let me have the clock, even
though it had just been stuck in a cupboard (I think it was
dumped there when DGS closed).
time after he retired, it was suggested I try again. The new
head teacher responded to my email immediately and I picked
up the clock earlier this year.
was interested in the clock, and asked if he could take it
to show a clockmaker acquaintance to see what could be done.
The estimate was for about £2,000-00 out of our reach...
But then Nigel said he would be interested in restoring it.
who has been getting the clock working, takes up the story:
Only the grime, hardened oil and so on has been removed, because
the exact method of cleaning down to the bare metal depends somewhat
in "who does what" and "what comes next" – both
out of my hands at present.
Inside the clock
The dial gears (mounted inside the dial) receive drive through
the wall at 1 rev/hour for the minute hand and gear down to 1
rev/12 hours for the hour hand.
adjustment dial allows the clock winder inside the building
to adjust the hands outside the building via the square drive.
Not really very accurate!
fusee winding mechanism is supposed to provide constant torque
into the escapement as t Winding plate he spring unwinds.
detailed descriptions of fusee clocks are given here and here.
However, I have not managed to find a picture of the exact
movement, which makes me wonder if the clock was built specially
for the school. The name "J.N. Williams, Diss" is
engraved on the plate.
2 Oct 2011 - clock running and keeping reasonable time.
24th June 2012 - the clock is now fully cleaned and ready for
re-assembly but the brass needs some preservation product application.
Nigel would like some 'advice' on this should anyone have expertise
in this area. You can pass on your help via the feedback page.
23rd Jan 2013 - the clock now has a feed-through rod to allow
the rotation to be fed through a wall from the movement to
the dial The new replica hands are being prepared for painting
but where will its permanent resting place in Diss be?
The Clock Maker, info thanks to Mark Robinson and Paul Noble.
(info obtained by asking on Mark Robinson's 'Diss Grammar School'
to the 1911 census - there was a James Newton Williams (Watchmaker
and Jewellery Shop Keeper) aged 57, living in Crown Street,
Diss with his wife Annie Mary Williams (47) and Son Frank Newton
Williams (19). He had 9 rooms in the property and James was
born in Kensington, London.
the family were living in Hammersmith, with their other son
Harry (7 in 1901) and James's mother Deborah. So they came
to Diss post-1901 (and pre-1908 if that's when the clock was
street was the name of the road from the Crown Inn to where
St Nicholas Street and Pump Hill (Market Hill) divide, now
all called St Nicholas Street.
what I mean is, a home has been found for it at last. After
negotiating with Diss Town Council for The Corn Hall then The
Youth Centre it has finally come to rest in Diss Town Museum.
of the maintenance and care document for the clock produced
by Nigel Barber and can be below. It is a PDF format file and
your browser should open it automatically for you.