London's Strangest Clock

M@
By M@ Last edited 10 months ago
London's Strangest Clock

Where in central London can you find a clock that features rotating discs, a rampant goat and a former prime minister masquerading as a sun god?

Here:

Bracken House is a sturdy post-war office block on Cannon Street, just opposite St Paul's. This gigantic astronomical clock guards the entrance. Its rotating dials show the minutes, hours, days, months and zodiacal signs.

And, right there in the middle, is the face of Winston Churchill.

It really is Winnie. The building is named after Brendan Bracken, a key ally of Churchill during the second world war. The statesman's grimacing countenance was built into the clock in 1959, by designers Frank Dobson and Philip Bentham, in a nod to this relationship.

Was it the inspiration for the Teletubbies' Sun Baby?

Bracken and Churchill have other connections, played out in the pages of George Orwell's 1984. During the second world war, Bracken ran the Ministry of Information, inspiration for Orwell's Ministry of Truth. He also shares his initials with Big Brother. The novel's protagonist is called Winston. We'd love to know: does Bracken House contain a Room 101?

The building contains still more symbolism. Notice the colour of the stone:

Bracken House was designed as the headquarters of the Financial Times, which Bracken refounded in 1945. The coloured facade is as a deliberate nod to that newspaper's famously pink pages.

The FT decamped to Southwark in the 1980s. It currently inhabits this thing:

Not for much longer.

In 2018, the FT will return to Bracken House. The newspaper will be back in the Square Mile, back in the building that matches its colour, and back beneath the gaze of Apollo-Churchill and the strangest clock in London.

All photos by M@, apart from the Teletubbies Sun Baby, who was unavailable for a portrait.

Last Updated 09 January 2017

Tube Geek

I saw the word 'CLOCK' and instantly thought 'Fortnum & Mason'. But it wasn't. Still really interesting though!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Mike Paterson

"This thing"? Glad to see you dissing a modern building. Didn't know about the Pink'un returning to the City though. That's good news.

Val Master

I've always loved that clock. It's beautiful.

Tube Geek

Also, did you know that the baby in the sun for Teletubbies (which looks like Winnie, as you said) is the youngest person ever t be in the charts?