The clock at St Pancras Station has long been a rendezvous for couples to meet, a tradition now symbolised by Paul Day’s magnificently kitsch thirty-foot-high sculpture The Meeting Place (2007). (The frieze below the huge figures, added in 2008, is actually much more interesting.)
The clock itself is not original.
The original eighteen-foot-diameter dial was sold to an American collector in the 1970s for £250,000, but during the removal fell to the concourse and smashed to pieces.
Mr Roland Hoggard, a railwayman and clock enthusiast, paid £25 for the pieces, including the hands and clock mechanism, and took it all back to his home village of Thurgaton in Nottinghamshire.
There he reconstructed the dial on the side of his barn and powered the hands by the original motion.
When the station was refurbished as the permanent terminus for Eurostar, the clockmakers Dent & Co took moulds and samples and reproduced the dial and hands exactly, with new Swithland slate numerals and much 23-carat gold leaf.
In 2015 the artist Cornelia Parker devised a second, black dial to hang in front of the not-original clock-face. The installation was entitled ‘One More Time’ [https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/cornelia-parker-st-pancras-international].
When Mr Hoggard died in 2013 at the age of 96 he bequeathed the clock to the British Horological Institute museum, five miles away from Thurgaton at Upton Hall, where for the moment the hands sit incongruously on top of a doorcase.
The BHI museum conservators are restoring the clock mechanism. Where they’ll find space to put the dial remains to be seen.
The BHI Museum at Upton Hall is open on a limited basis: http://bhi.co.uk/museum/museum-events.