14th Sep, 2023 10:00

The Guinness Sale at Elveden

  Lot 426


A Victorian turret clock and bell by Gillett & Johnston, Croydon

A Victorian turret clock and bell by Gillett & Johnston, Croydon,
dated 1895, the twin-barrel movement, signed to the frame 'Gillett & Co.', and to the silvered setting dial, 'Gillett & Johnston, Croydon',
54.5cm wide
34cm deep
45cm high
setting dial 8.5cm diameter,
with a patinated copper dial,
with Roman numerals, with raised shamrocks to the spandrels,
76.5cm square,
with nine cast iron weights,
18 to 20cm diameter,
an ash pendulum, with a weight,
125.5cm long,
a cast bell,
numbered '1503' and 'Gillett & Johnston, Croydon, 1895',
top bar 68cm wide
38.5cm diameter
34cm high,
a crank handle, four pulleys, a wood cradle and a cast iron wheel,
cast '1ft 9in RG', and
a collection of rods (qty.)

Provenance: Elveden Hall Stables.

The original inventory from Gillett & Johnston, dated 7 May 1898, shows that William Young - the architect Lord Iveagh had commissioned to make alterations at Elveden Hall and stables - placed the order which reads:

'Lord Iveagh Elveden Stables Elveden Hall Thetford '8637' / No 1 striking 3 Bell & Hangings / Two 3'6" sq copper black and gold with cast brass shamrock in each corner / Carriage / Fixing / Must go check with once winding / Not carpenters work or scaffold / Net 130 / July 19 / 4 1/4 Bell - Extra 7.10 / Extra Weight for larger bell 2.10'.

The firm of Gillett & Johnston can trace its roots back to the clockmaker William Gillett who moved from Hadlow, Kent, to Clerkenwell in 1837. In 1844 he relocated again, this time to Union Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon. Charles Bland became a partner in 1854 and the company subsequently traded as Gillett & Bland. In 1877, Arthur A Johnston (c.1851-1916) bought a partnership, and shortly afterward, extended the company's output by establishing a bell foundry. The business became known as Gillett, Bland & Co. until Bland's death in c.1884 when the name was changed to Gillett & Co. The name Gillett & Johnston seems to have been used from around 1887. Arthur Johnston's son, Cyril Frederick Johnston (1884-1950), joined the company in 1902, became a partner in 1907, and took over the firm following his father's death in 1916. He developed an interest in the theory of bell tuning, and greatly expanded the bell founding side of the business.

During the First World War, the factory suspended its regular business and became involved in the manufacture of munitions, employing over 1,250 men and women. The firm became a limited liability company in 1925, initially trading as the Croydon Bell Foundry Ltd. (although the name 'Gillett & Johnston' still appeared on bells). It reverted to the name Gillett & Johnston Ltd. in 1930. After going into receivership in 1957, the company was subsequently reborn and still trades today as clockmakers specialising in the maintenance and restoration of turret clocks.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Sold for £2,800

Condition Report

Worn, all pieces with wear and no hands for the clock.
In need of restoration.



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Auction: The Guinness Sale at Elveden, 14th Sep, 2023


‘I wish all the recipients of lots from this Elveden auction years of enjoyment from their purchase, as I believe the vast majority of these items are likely to be heirlooms for generations of the future.’
Edward Iveagh


Read Post Sale Release



Sale Location

The auction will take place at Elveden Hall, London Road, Elveden, Thetford IP24 3TQ.  The sale commences at 10am, with doors open from 8.30am.



Viewing will be held at Elveden Hall, London Road, Elveden, Thetford IP24 3TQ. 


Entrance by catalogue only, admits two.

Purchased in advance - £35 (inc. postage) – Please send contact details to accounts@sworder.co.uk
Purchased on the door - £30


Saturday 9 September, 10am - 4pm 

Sunday 10 September, 10am - 4pm 

Monday 11 September, 10am - 7pm 

Tuesday 12 September, 10am - 4pm 

Wednesday 13 September, 10am - 4pm

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 


Refreshments by Maision Bleue available on site.

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