A brief history of Time Assured

Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Time Assured, a member of the National Churches Trust's Professional Trades Directory, specialises in the service, repair and conservation of Church Clocks.

Stephen Williams, Managing Director, describes one of their most recent projects, the restoration of the clock at St Mary and St Laurence Church in Bolsover:

We have recently completed a dial restoration project at St Mary and St Laurence Church in Bolsover. Initially the church was focused on a project providing much needed repairs to the stonework. However, they quite rightly realised that the scaffolding required for the stonework repairs could also be utilised to undertake other tasks, namely providing access to the two clock dials to enable the dials to be restored.

The church’s Westminster Quarter chime clock drives two 4ft diameter cast iron skeleton dials decorated in black with gold hands, numerals and perimeter ring.

Our job

Our initial quotation was to restore the two dials, and dismantle and clean the dial motion works. The dial motion works can only be fully accessed when the clock hands are removed so a dial restoration provides a rare opportunity to have them cleaned and inspected.

Once we were able to access the dials from the scaffold, it became clear that we also needed to install new dial fixings. The existing fixings had corroded to the point they were barely holding the dials in place.

Having been removed from the church, the two dials were inspected for any defects or problems and then taken to a specialist firm to be grit blasted. This removed all dirt and debris and provided a clean surface for the restoration.

Cleaning and polishing

The hands were submerged in a cleaning solution to restore the surface. The dials and hands were then primed and coated with two coats of black polyurethane paint. This will provide protection against weathering, and resistance to fading from exposure to UV. It should last for around thirty years or more until the next restoration is required.

The hands, numerals and outer perimeter ring were then gilded by our craftsmen using double thickness 23 ½ carat English gold leaf.

The work has had a very positive effect on the appearance of the tower. A public footpath runs alongside of the Church and the public now often comment on how nice the restored clock faces look.

You can find out more about Time Assured by visiting their website

The National Churches Trust’s ‘Professional Trades Directory’ provides a guide to over 100 companies and individuals who can offer expert and specialist help with the repair and conservation of church buildings. Find out more about the Professional Trades Directory