Timekeeping, Domestic clocks and watches

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Tavern clock


Object connections:

Collection Timekeeping, Domestic clocks and watches
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID ZAA0072
Description A round-dial tavern clock by George Bennett of Greenwich. The black-painted wood case has a 736.6 mm black-painted dial with gilt figures. The case is 1397 mm high. It incorporates an eight-day timepiece movement driven by a falling weight and controlled by a pendulum and anchor escapement. Tavern clocks such as this, with their large dials, were commonly installed in taverns, coaching inns and other publicly accessible places, giving travellers access to the right time or allowing them to set their watches. They were also often seen 'below stairs' in great houses. Many date the invention of the tavern clock to 1797, when William Pitt the Younger imposed a heavy tax on timekeepers. In response, it is said that tavern-keepers commissioned clocks like this one to accommodate public need. Tavern clocks are therefore often known as 'Act of Parliament' clocks. However, this type of clock existed from the 1720s and was popular throughout the 18th century. Public outcry forced Pitt to repeal his tax the following year, so the only real effect of the Act was to furnish a convenient name for a very popular type of clock. .
Date made 1802-1811

Artist/Maker Bennett, George
Place made Greenwich
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials metal; wood; glass
Measurements Overall: 2000 x 600 x 200 mm
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