21 Jul

Church Clock Goes for Electrical Signals

Why a Thurso church clock will be controlled by electrical signals from Frankfurt

Now with electrical signals: the clock at St. Peter's and St. Andrew's Church, Thurso. Image by J.M. Briscoe, 2005 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).

St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s Church, Thurso. Image by J.M. Briscoe, 2005 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).

For thirteen years, Bill Brown has wound the clock at St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s Church in Thurso. After in his words, “lifting a weight of 200 tons to the height of the top of the church”, the 86-year-old said in the John O’Groat Journal he was able to retire. Instead of manual control, the church’s clock will be controlled by electrical signals from Germany.

With the use of electrical signals from Germany, radio controlled signals mean fewer trips to the church tower. Therefore, the clock at St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s Church will keep ticking away at the right time, every time. Without the need to traipse up and down the steps to manually wind the clock every so often.

The clock’s radio signals will come via the DCF-77 transmission from Mainflingen, near Frankfurt. This time signal has been in operation since 1959 – 123 years after the clock was added to St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s Church. Situated on Princes Street, the church was built by William Burn between 1830 and 1832. Its church clock was added in 1836, and restored by apprentices from Dounreay nuclear power station in 1986.

Though the electrical signals will be controlled from Frankfurt, the church bells will still be manually controlled. Both the clock and the gardens that front the church are a gift from Sir Tollemache Sinclair.

St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s Church has a lively regular programme of services and a Sunday School with two classes (known as Sunday Club and Top Up Club). It is very much a part of the Scottish Highland town.

D and A Plumbing and Electrical Contractors, 21 July 2017.

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