Clock offers link to 1940s Hemyock industry

A special ‘nightwatchman’s’ clock is going on display in Hemyock, offering a glimpse of factory life in the village 70 years ago.

The clock has been put on permanent display at the Blackdown Healthy Living Centre at Millhayes in Hemyock by the Hemyock History & Archiving Association.

The building was once the canteen for the milk factory complex which existed on the site throughout the twentieth century producing cream, spreads and ice-cream powder as well as sending milk to London by rail.

During the 1940s, the factory’s nightwatchman would carry the clock with him on his rounds, inserting keys held at various points along the way which would mark a roll of paper inside. In this way, factory bosses could be sure that he was patrolling everywhere he was supposed to. Today, similar functions are performed by smart phones and GPS technology.

The clock, which was made in France, was donated to the Association by Michael Lowman, son of factory foreman Edgar Lowman. He remembers it being used in his childhood by nightwatchmen Jack Wood and Charlie Northam.

The project to display the clock was made possible thanks to a grant from the Sustainable Development Fund, which is administered by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership.

To see the clock, visit the Blackdown Healthy Living Centre between 9am – 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9am – 12noon on Wednesdays.


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