A Timely Reminder

Another varied and intriguing week since our last ‘posting’ at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, Yeovil, Somerset.

Given our ‘off-site’ location, one of the exciting elements of our work is how many fascinating and significant ‘Yeovil and South Somerset connection’ objects are donated to us, from the generosity of the public at large.

We have recently engaged in an active collecting programme, where we directly ask for objects, documents, or photographs. One example was the early years of Westland helicopters, as we had very few items related to this subject. This has proven to be very successful, with many different areas and later years of Westland and ARP photographs ‘coming to light.’

One of our recent donations that made us go “Wow” was a clock, still in working order and inline with our collecting policy of “Yeovil and South Somerset.” What was really satisfying and superb was that the donors had not only thought to donate the clock, but had also provided the background context on the maker and the actual mechanism inside; which is so important to make an object appreciated by as wide an audience as possible.

The actual clock in question was made by clockmaker and jeweller, William James Sherriff of Market Street, Yeovil. This is interesting in itself as the Clock is marked only with the maker’s initials and surname “W. J. Sherriff” and a name helps to ‘define’ a person.

Being a long standing preacher in the Methodist Church, William James donated the clock to Preston Road Methodist Church, Yeovil when the church opened in 1938. From then, it kept time hanging inside the church until 2014, when it was replaced by a modern battery powered quartz version as William’s clock was considered, by some, too onerous a task to wind it on a weekly basis. The timepiece has a spring driven 8 day mechanism with a pendulum operated escapement.

We also wish to add that we still enjoy ‘passive’ collecting where someone calls us and the conversation starts: “Would you be interested in my…….”


The clock made by clockmaker and jeweller, William James Sherriff of Market Street, Yeovil.


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