Around the country, clocks in towers and on post offices still tell time or their chimes ring out over the surrounding cities.
We take them for granted, walking past the imposing structures without giving them a second thought.
It was the firm Littlejohns of Wellington which is responsible for at least 13 huge turret/tower clocks around the country.
Wilson Littlejohn was born on October 25, 1836, and married Margaret Gordon. He and his family came to New Zealand in 1879.
Along with his son Alexander Ironside Littlejohn, and with Wilson’s nephew Peter Still set up Littlejohn and Son, a jewellery and watch/clock maker on Wellington’s Lambton Quay. A sprawling three storey building, it was the right size for a manufacturing store.
It was one of their clocks on the Wellington Post Office that regularly chimed the quarter hour.
For years they were commissioned to provide clocks for towers in towns around the country. The former Invercargill Post Office clock was put up in 1893, had four bells that chimed the same tune as at Westminster, London.
They also provided the New Zealand Insurance Company Clock in Invercargill which sat unmoving for years before being recently repositioned.
The Cambridge Town Hall and tower clock was put up in 1909. The Edwardian design created an iconic structure. The clock itself had been supplied by Littlejohns in 1908 for the Post Office.
The clock atop Iona Port Chalmers church is another of Littlejohn's, the clock set in a neo-Gothic tower. Installed in 1885 it needed to be wound once a week by hand. It was restored in 2014.
Blenheim’s war memorial clock, which was dismantled, carefully cleaned and restored in 2019 was also from Littlejohn’s.
Wilson died in June 29, 1897 and is buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery in Nelson.
Alexander died May 25, 1910 and has a rather impressive grave site at Karori Cemetery. There’s really only one thing missing from the tall monument - a clock.
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