Historic timepiece at Temple Newsam provides timely reminder to put clocks back an hour

A historic timepiece reputedly once owned by one of history's most famous monarchs provides a timely reminder for Leeds residents to put their clocks back tonight.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 11:45 am
Michael Clark, visitor assistant at Temple Newsam House, adjusts the time on the Pyke Clock ready for when the clocks go back at 2am on Sunday October 25. Picture Tony Johnson

Temple Newsam House’s stunning Pyke Clock will see another season come and go when the staff at the east Leeds mansion put the clocks back to officially mark the end of the British summer time.

The clocks will be going back one hour at 2am on Sunday October 25 to mark the end of British Summer Time, giving people an extra hour in bed.

Most smart phones, computers, and other devices connected to the internet, will normally update the time automatically.

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Michael Clark, visitor assistant at Temple Newsam House, adjusts the time on the Pyke Clock ready for when the clocks go back at 2am on Sunday October 25. Picture Tony Johnson

But if you have a watch or clock that isn't digital, don't forget to check if you need to manually reset the time.

Made in 1765 by royal clockmaker George Pyke, the beautiful clock is believed to have once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France and later passed into the ownership of the Duke of Buckingham.

Lavishly decorated with gilded figurines, it stands an impressive eight feet tall with a face elaborately framed by classical gods and muses, presided over by Mercury, the winged messenger.

When it strikes, an internal barrel organ plays one of eight melodies and a number of figurines and characters spring into life.

Michael Clark, visitor assistant at Temple Newsam House, adjusts the time on the Pyke Clock ready for when the clocks go back at 2am on Sunday October 25. Picture Tony Johnson

They include musicians that begin to play, dancers who perform, a water wheel that turns, a dog and cattle that pass over a bridge and a fleet of ships that sail across a choppy sea.

During a notable career as an organ builder, barrel organ maker, and clockmaker George Pyke was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1753 and was an associate of the eminent English clockmaker Charles Clay.

Maya Harrison, principal keeper at Temple Newsam, said: “The Pyke Clock is one of the most stunning and impressive objects in our collection and the incredible skill and artistry which must have gone into its creation is truly remarkable.

“The clock has stood the test of time throughout so many turbulent periods in history and decorated many royal rooms and palaces too so we’re very proud to have it here at Temple Newsam for our visitors to enjoy today.”

Each Leeds Museums and Galleries site has social distancing and hygiene measures in place and booking in advance at some sites is essential.

Booking ahead is advised for visits to Temple Newsam. New visitor routes are also in place and some venues have limited access to some areas ensure visitor safety.

More details of arrangements at individual sites, advice for visitors and details about how to book can be found at: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/reopening-information/

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