Historic Harrals clock returns to Eldon Street

A cherished landmark in Barnsley town centre has been restored to its former glory thanks to the Eldon Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ). The Harrals clock, which has been a meeting place for generations of people, has been repaired and repainted as its now back in its rightful place on the historic street.


The clock was installed in the early 1900s by Benjamin Harral, a renowned jeweller and clockmaker who had his Ring Shop on Eldon Street. Harral was a member of the Clock Makers Company, one of the ancient City Guilds, and had the freedom of the City of London. He made watches for members of the Admiralty, for use in the Royal Navy.


The clock is one of the few surviving features of the original Ring Shop building, which was redesigned in 1913 with a white tiled frontage and a second floor. The building also had a time ball clock, which was connected by wireless to the Eifel Tower in Paris and fell once a day at 11am to allow people to set their timepieces. The time ball was removed in the late 1930s, but the mechanical clock remained.


The clock has been a source of inspiration for poets and artists, including Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, who featured it in his work in 2022, and the Radio 4 programme 'The Ballad of Eldon Street' in 2023.


The clock restoration is part of a wider scheme to restore some of the buildings on the street which needed urgent repairs. The project is funded by the Eldon Street HSHAZ, a partnership between Barnsley Council, Historic England and local businesses. The Eldon Street HAZ, a four-year project which is nearing completion, have preserved historic buildings on the street and brought its fascinating history back to life.


'Timed' for the re-installation of the clock we have worked with Dextra Visual to show how the Ring Shop looked in the 1930s. At this time there was a time ball which would drop each morning at 11am so locals could set their watches by. The signal for the time ball came from the Eiffel Tower in Paris! Read more about the history of the building in our blog

You can also watch our digital reconstruction of Eldon Street in the 1960s on our YouTube channel.  

Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy, said: "We are delighted to see the Harrals clock back in its rightful place on Eldon Street. It is a symbol of Barnsley's rich heritage and a reminder of the skills and craftsmanship which make up an important part of our heritage. The clock is also a focal point for our community, a place where people have gathered for over a century to socialise and celebrate. We are grateful to the Eldon Street HAZ for making this possible and for their work to preserve and enhance our historic high street."


For more information about the project visit the project section of our website