HMC Dockyard Clock
Canada's Oldest Working Clock
Links and documents
1767/01/01 to 1767/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The HMC Dockyard Clock is a handcrafted clock originally installed in a domed cupola on the Hauser Stores in 1772. The clock has been relocated three times, and its current location is on a monument at Chebucto Landing, at the Halifax Waterfront, Halifax, NS. The designation applies to the clock and monument only.
The HMC Dockyard Clock is valued as Canada's oldest working clock, for its superb craftsmanship, and as the last tangible evidence of the original naval dockyard in Halifax.
Constructed by Aynesth Thwaites in Clerkenwell, London in 1767, the clock itself is a masterpiece of traditional craftsmanship. The clock was completely hand tooled; from its forged shafts to its filled gears. A two hundred and fifty pound weight drives its nine foot pendulum.
The clock’s original home, on the roof of the Hauser Stores, was demolished in 1941. The Stores were wooden structures used as naval warehouses for provisions and clothing. The clock was relocated to the HMC Dockyard Fire Hall that was constructed in 1943. The Fire Hall was demolished in 1986 and after a short period of storage, the Dockyard Clock was donated to Halifax Regional Municipality in an attempt to make this valuable piece of history more available to the public view. The clock and its domed cupola are the last remaining architectural fragments of the original eighteenth century naval dockyard.
The clock was relocated to a prominent monument situated at the foot of George Street on the Halifax Harbour, near the ferry terminal. There is value in this more modern structure as its design represents elements of its history, such as the "X” motif recalls the railing pattern on the original Hauser Stores. The clock is one of the few remaining relics of the Navy's early presence in Halifax which shaped the history of the city and its residents.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File George Street (in front of 5075) Canada’s Oldest Clock, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements of the HMC Dockyard Clock include:
- elements of its traditional craftsmanship including the handmade inner workings of the clock;
- original, handmade bell with its creation date of 1797 stamped into the metal;
- two hundred pound weight which drives its nine-foot pendulum;
- white-on-black clock face;
- clock's mounting in a domed cupola with a metal roof, and weathervane;
- location in a modern monument, the design of which incorporates elements of the Hauser Stores and Dockyard Fire Hall;
- location in a public space on the Halifax Waterfront.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1994/01/01 to 1994/01/01
1767/01/01 to 1767/01/01
1772/01/01 to 1941/01/01
1941/01/01 to 1993/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Public Art or Furnishings
- Military Office
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection