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Exclusive insights into the history and horology of our watch and clock makers.
MAY 2021

I. Smith of Derby, and their international architectural clock work

Smith of Derby is one of the world’s best-known public clockmakers and a family company since its foundation in 1856. Since that time, the company has flourished and grown to become Smith of Derby Group and has manufactured over 12,000 new clocks in the UK and overseas. We work with architects, designers and planners to help them to integrate time into their projects. We are proud to have created, and maintain, timepieces for many prestigious buildings and projects over our long history including St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Swiss Glockenspiel in London’s Leicester Square, Custom House in Shanghai and the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Not only can we create bespoke timepieces, we have also worked in partnership with artists, sculptors and designers to create public art, sculptures and architectural features.

Not only do we create new bespoke clocks, we are specialists in clock and dial repair and restoration. Conservation and preservation are very much at the heart of our business and we look after over 4,000 clocks in the UK and overseas, servicing and preserving them for communities to enjoy for many generations to come.

Origin story (how it all started):

A successful and highly thought of company dating back to the early 18th Century. Smith of Derby’s first premises was on Queen Street in Derby, which would remain its home for the next 132 years.

Smith of Derby flourished during the industrial revolution, continuing the clockmaking excellence that John Smith learnt as an apprentice. The company expanded throughout the 20th Century acquiring some of the most reputable names in horology, growing to be today’s Smith of Derby Group – still proudly family owned.

Our founder John Smith (1813-1886) was a clockmaker and apprentice to John Whitehurst III of Whitehurst from 1827 until 1856. John Smith established the Smith of Derby company at 27 Queen Street in Derby in 1856.

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