Times are changing in Hunslet

The Hunslet St Mary’s clock is ticking again! The iconic clocktower lies in the heart of the Hunslet in more ways than one: it’s the most prominent landmark in Hunslet, and also a much-loved reminder of the community’s proud history. But unfortunately, the clock had been stuck at 10.20 for the past year – and where do you find a suitably-qualified technician to fix a clock that’s more than 150 years old..?

(Image courtesy of Terry Hill.)

Indeed, the clock goes back to 1864, when it was built by world-famous Leeds clockmakers William Potts & Sons. Other clocks of theirs include the Oakwood clocktower up in north Leeds, and the huge Newcastle Cathedral clock. (Potts were taken over by Smiths of Derby in 1933, who are still going today – although sadly, the Leeds premises closed in 2000.)

Local resident Kenny Saunders (chairperson of the Hunslet Carr Residents Association) has been looking after the clock for the past few years, but was unable to restart it when it broke last year. But it’s amazing what a bit of determination and some lucky connections can achieve…

Last year, Leeds Industrial Museum (in Armley) hosted an exhibition of Potts clocks, and were able to introduce Kenny to someone who used to work for the firm: one Terry Hill, who worked for Potts between 1978-2010, has travelled round the world with his work, and is now with Hill Tower Clocks based in Methley.

He volunteered to come over to have a look – and sure enough, with just a bit of oil, a clean, and some fiddling, Terry was able to coax the old clock (and its light and chimes) back into life.

Kenny comments:

“It’s great that we found Terry, and we really appreciate him giving up his time and his skills for our community. It’s such a prominent landmark for Hunslet, and we’re all delighted it’s back up and running again.”

Hunslet Carr Residents Association meet on the first Thursday of every month, at the Woodhouse Hill Community Centre, at 6.30pm: click here for more info. They’re leading on various local projects, including: plans to turn the Sandon Mount green space into a well-used place for the community and for nearby Hunslet Carr Primary School; and creating a garden and seating outside the Bayhorse pub on Balm Road. They’re always looking for more local residents to get involved…


(The photo credit was corrected on 27 April 2015)

4 Replies to “Times are changing in Hunslet”

  1. Great to see it’s working again! It had been out of action for far too long.

    I’d no idea it dated back to 1864. Amazing the things you can find out about your community! Thanks for an interesting article.

  2. Yeah, it’s incredible what you can discover about things on your doorstep! There’s great history in south Leeds.

  3. For quite a while it would strike 13 at midnight. I live just over the road and love leaving my window open at night and listening to the chimes.
    Once, about 7 or 8 years ago it played all sorts of carols and hymns. They just have rigged up speakers or something in the belfry. Anyone remember this? What was it for?

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