Sandhurst Clock Tower


The Clock Tower was erected in 1889 to honour Captain Arthur Oakes, a Justice of the Peace who lived in the village at Downgate.  It is a Grade 2 Listed Building; ( the English Heritage building ID is 170357).The tower is a distinctive village landmark on the Upper Green, next to the War Memorial.  It was 125 years old in 2014.


The following article appeared in the “Sandhurst Chronicles”:



In 1889 a piece of land measuring “two perches more or less” was sold by Mr Thomas Slaughter and his wife Mary for the sum of two pounds to the village of Sandhurst for the purpose of erecting a Memorial to Arthur Oaks Esq J.P. who was a highly respected parishioner of Sandhurst and lived at Downgate.


The Memorial, in the shape of a Clock Tower, was built by David Winser, the grandfather of Mr Tom Small who lives at Bell Farm (opposite the Post Office).


The Tower was built so that the West Face is in direct line with the front door of Downgate. (These facts have been taken from the original deeds).


On completion of the structure, a frightened Mabel, – the mother of Tom Small – was hoisted in a bucket to the top of the tower to put into place the final brick.


In the Guildhall Library in London there are ‘Daybooks’ regarding the transactions by Thwaites and Reed (Clockmakers). The entry for Sandhurst movement is as follows:


The movement 2 Dials and a Bell cost £64.0s.0d, two extra dials cost £10.10s.0d, all were delivered and fitted on the 10th October 1889. It also states that the dials are 3 feet in diameter, the movement is dead beat, and rod Pendulum and that the Bell weighs 2 cwt.


One reason the clock does not quite keep to Greenwich Mean Time is that the movement is set on timber, which is subject to atmosphere pressure.


The movement, which needs winding once a week has been kindly done for the last 20 years by Mr Ron Matthews. The chimes require to be wound 54 times and the clock 42.


In 1989 to celebrate the Tower’s Centenary, a set of commemorative chinaware was produced, of which a number found their way to the USA, South Africa, Australia and Europe. Also that year Mr Ron Matthews, who was the chairman of the Parish Council, took and presented to the then Mayor of Paris, Mr Jacques Chirac, a set of chinaware to coincide with the Eiffel Tower’s birthday celebrations which was also celebrating its centennial year.