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'Just a Minute' to restore a clock for St Peter's Cradley

Published: 4th April 2018

After the successfulrestoration of the organ at St Peters, attention is now being turned torestoring the tower clock dial saved during the demolition of St Lukes in CradleyHeath. The church wants to install it in the tower of St Peters inCradley for the benefit of the whole community and to preserve the memory ofSt. Lukes.

What is Just a Minute?

The Church's Just a MinuteAppeal is where, for a donation (people can give as much as they wish), peopleand local businesses choose a certain minute on the clock dial from St. Lukesand write in no more than 100 words, why that particular minute is important tothem.

With 1440 minutes in24 hours, theres plenty to choose from, but once a minute has been selected bysomeone it cannot be selected again by someone else so get in quick!

The church wants people toselect a memorable time, such as when they were born, started school, gotmarried, went on a wonderful holiday or a poignant occasion.

It is hoped that atthe end of the project and once the clock is installed, they can put all thecontributions and names into a book and have it on display in the church forfuture generations.

Please include your 100 words, name and contactemail address or telephone number (in case we need you to select a differentminute) along with a cheque for your donation made payable to PCC of CradleyParish and mark on the back of the cheque Clock Fund. It is important thatyou tell us if your minute is AM or PM.

Please mark your envelope Just a Minute Appeal.

If people wish to make a donation, no matter how large or small,without sponsoring a minute, they can send their donation to the address

for Just a Minute monies but please mark yourenvelope Clock Fund. Alternatively, donations can be made on our CrowdFunderwebpage at

To restore the clockdial and install it at Cradley will cost around 15,000. In addition to theJust a Minute Appeal, grant funding bodies will be approached to apply forexternal funding. Any surplus money from the project will be used for theongoing maintenance of the church.

Reaching the heights

The first priority is to confirm if the dial fromSt. Lukes will fit the opening at St Peters. This will need the use of acherrypicker/platform for an hour or two so that they can accurately measure theopening and take details of the stonework. If anyone can assist with thedonation of a platform for an hour, please do get in touch by calling thechurch office on 0121 550 1158.

Roger Whitehouse(Former Church Warden of St Lukes) said

When St. Luke's Church closed, someitems that had been used in the church were shipped to foreign lands. They arenow being used in various parts of the world in many different churches, so youcan only imagine the pride felt by members of St. Luke's congregation whenthey heard that St. Peter's Cradley, a church very local to St. Luke's inCradley Heath, had made a request to save the clock dial.

The dial was a prominentfeature on the High Street of Cradley Heath for sixty-seven years, providing atime check for the community, at the heart of the chain making industry in theBlack Country. It is hoped, that when completed, the restored dial can servethe community of Cradley, in a similar manner, over many years to come.

The story of the clock

From 1949 to 2016 theclock dial served the town of Cradley Heath (approximately one mile from StPeters) and was housed in the Parish Church of St Luke. It was installed in StLukes to mark the centenary of that church and was paid for using a legacy of150.00 from Mrs Elizabeth Hill, whose family had a long association with StLukes. The clock was an electric clock by Smiths English Clock Systems ofLondon using a Master Clock system. This original system failed around the year2000. A replacement system was installed by Smith of Derby in June 2002 and wasin working condition when St Lukes closed.

In October 2014 theChurch of St Luke was closed as much needed structural repairs to the buildingwere estimated to be around 750,000. This was beyond the means of the ChurchCouncil and therefore the last service was held in the church on 19thOctober 2014.

Over the next twoyears the building lay empty until 2016 when it was decided that the buildingwould be demolished as no future use for it could be found. Meanwhile at StPeters, Cradley, the pipe organ was out of action due to a broken blower. Areplacement blower was sourced from St Lukes. When surveying the blower to seeif it was suitable for St Peters, it became apparent that the clock dial at StLukes wasnt earmarked for preservation and would be lost when the buildingwas demolished.

In 1875, the tower ofSt Peters was added to the original building of 1789 and was designed by theBromsgrove architect, John Cotton. Two years later in 1878 John Cotton added anapsidal east end to St Lukes. Back at St Peters, Cotton had intended there tobe a clock on the outside of the tower and provided a stone roundel on which tomount the clock. Due to a lack of funds the clock was never added to the towerand to this day the roundel remains empty.

When it wasdiscovered that there was a strong possibility of the clock dial at St Lukesbeing lost with the building, it was decided to try and acquire the it for useat St Peters.

The Diocese ofWorcester granted permission for the dial to be retrieved with the view that itwould be installed at some point in the future at St Peters. Many thanks toJohn Dentith (Diocese of Worcester) and Roger Whitehouse (Church Warden of StLukes) for providing access to survey the clock.

Thanks to the help oflocal metalwork sculptor, Luke Perry, the dial was removed in November 2016 andtransported to St Peters. Unfortunately, when it was removed, part of the castiron dial broke away. All the parts are together with the dial and advice hasbeen sought to confirm that repair is possible.

There are three partsto the project:

1. DialRestoration and Installation

The dial restorationwould consist of stripping down the ironwork, repainting it, re-gild the threeconcentric rings and replace the damaged glazing with vandal resistant acrylic.This would return the dial to its original appearance as it was in 1949.

2.Installation of quarter hour and hour chimes

The chimes would useelectromagnetic hammers on the existing bells to sound the hours and quarters.A night silencing device would be added so that the clock can be stopped fromchiming through the night.

3. Floodlightingof the tower

It is an ambition ofSt Peters to make the church more visible at night. Currently the church isquite hidden at night due to it being set back from the road and surrounded byits eight acres of churchyard. Plans have been drawn up to use energy efficientLED lighting to light the Victorian tower and remind people of the presence ofthe church in its community. 

Page last updated: Wednesday 4th April 2018 9:21 AM
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