1844 - 1957
Gillett and Johnston are international standard clockmakers and bell founders who supplied worldwide contractors as well as the Government and various public bodies. From 1844 to 1950 over 14,000 tower clocks were made at the foundry.
Here the famous 72-bell carillon, the largest in the world, was made for John Rockefeller Jnr to be based in New York, as was the ten and a half ton 'Freedom Bell' for West Berlin's Town Hall.
The foundry at Union Road was established in 1844 and by 1868 was one of the first steam powered clock factories in the world. The clock tower was added to the works as a working advertisement. Each of the clock faces was different and unique, being hand finished by skilled workmen. Cyril Johnston, once described as 'the greatest bell founder ever' was granted the OBE a few months before his death in 1950.
The foundry was demolished in 1997.
Gillett & Johnston are still trading, see their website www.gillettjohnston.co.uk for details.
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Friday, 24 May, 2013