I just finished “sleeping rough” in front of Westminster Abbey to have the best seat for photographing the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Abbey West Door was directly in front of my pitch where I enjoyed all my new friends who were also celebrating this momentous occasion. As the minutes passed into hours and the hours passed into days, I realized I had never really paid much attention to the Abbey’s clock. I heard Big Ben on the Houses of Parliament all day long, day after day, but suddenly I realized that there were no chimes connected with the Abbey Clock. When the subject came up, I discussed with my very knowledgeable “sleeping rough” friends how to read the Abbey clock which had only one hand. We found out that the clock was completed in 1745 and has a face on all three sides of one of the west-facing towers. We all watched the one hand move from hour to hour and realized that when the hand was half way between one hour (say 7:00) and the next hour (say 8:00), it was 7:30. When it was not quite half way between numbers, it was 7:15. For the 18th century, absolute accuracy must not have been so important, but I am certain people quickly learned to be very accurate and knew how to read the clock precisely.
That old 1745 Abbey clock and I became very good friends over my 3-day camp-out. I often thought to myself that this old clock has told the hour for three centuries and read by millions of people who have enjoyed being in front of the Abbey Church, right where I was spending a lot of wonderful hours.
When you are at the Abbey, have a look. When I first arrived at my campsite, I heard someone say: WHAT GOOD IS THAT CLOCK? IT TELLS ONLY THE HOUR. Wow! Perhaps we have put ourselves into schedules which are clocked right down to the second. What have we gotten for it all? You are right! Ulcers.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918