Thursday’s Special: Grandfather’s Clock

Paula’s ‘Thursday’s Special Challenge’ this week is ‘Traces Of The Past’. Somewhere in one of our packing boxes which came over from South Africa, is hubby’s grandfather’s clock, which was presented to him in 1894 by grateful members of the church where he’d served as minister.


Many years ago, when we visited my sister-in-law in Ireland, hubby found the old clock languishing in her cellar. He asked if we could take it back to South Africa with us as she obviously didn’t use it. She agreed and it was taken on the plane as hand luggage. The case is black slate and marble and is very heavy, weighing over 20 kgs (44 lbs). We removed the mechanism and packed it separately so it wouldn’t get damaged en route. I remember us buying a small suitcase which would be allowed as cabin baggage, to put it in. The trick was to carry it through check-in and onto the plane as though it weighed next to nothing, or it may not have been allowed. Back home, we had it serviced and it worked as good as new, even the chime. It had a really beautifully ornate key for winding, which very annoyingly, the service guy said that he’d mislaid. He gave us a plain one as a replacement, saying he would look for the original in his workshop, but it never reappeared. Hmmm!

Although the date on the plaque is 1894, we were told that the clock is actually much older, so it must have been 2nd hand when grandfather got it. The ‘pair of bronzes’ it mentions, are a mystery, and no-one in the family has them, which is a great pity, as we would have liked those to go with it.


The church is no longer standing, having been demolished in the 1980’s, but I found this postcard picture of it on the internet.


Once our house renovations are completed, it will be fun to unpack all our boxes and give this old clock a special place in our sitting room.





69 comments on “Thursday’s Special: Grandfather’s Clock

  1. I had a grandfather’s clock before which I bought in Italy. A tall one. But my grandmother got rid of it. She probably don’t like the idea of naming it “grandfather’s clock”. 😀

  2. Wonderful post, clock, and family history. It is always special to have something like that. But, as you were telling about how you got it home, I was thinking about today’s security, boarding, and weight limit challenges. It’s good that you got it back when you did. 🙂

  3. What a fabulous clock. It makes for a great story. I really enjoyed the bit about you carrying it onto the plane as hand luggage.

  4. Love this! What a wonderful heirloom to have and cherish! Hope it weathered the move with noting untoward happening. That’s one box I’d be in a hurry to open and unpack.

  5. So glad the clock could come out of the cellar, I wonder how many treasure are hidden away these days. Hope you can have it on proud display when your house is finished. What an interesting story, great to see the original church…what a wonderful piece of family history.

  6. Such a stunning clock and with so much history. We have a very special one too that has been in our family since it was made in 1790. It has now travelled to 3 continents and still ticks away, I wind it every 8 days!

  7. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past Y2-05 | Lost in Translation

  8. A treasure to have and to cherish. I am so very happy with this contribution. I am counting on you to put a photo of it on your mantel when you complete the renovations. Thank you, Sylvia. This is really something valuable. 🙂

  9. I love this story, Sylvia, although I know have “My Grandfather’s Clock” humming through my brain! We knew someone who once brought a case of wine as carry-on luggage, but that was before all the strictures of today. I would never have had the nerve to try, in case they took it away.


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