22 August 1933 It was the work of the clock-dresser to “dress” or clean and repair and regulate old farmhouse clocks
Clock-dressing is one of those out-of-the-way occupations which have virtually died out, submerged under the march of progress. Throughout the Pennine dales, where until recent years the clock-dresser was a familiar figure, from the Peak to the waters of the Solway, it would to-day be only by the rarest of chances that you would come upon one, a little old man sturdily striding along with his small leather handbag. And you would need to have met and known the type to guess at the contents of the bag – wire, cord, a collection of small screws and nails, a hammer, pincers, pliers, a can of thin oil.
He has disappeared partly because in the farmhouses there are fewer clocks to-day of the type that need “dressing.” Many of these old grandfather clocks, whose stately, unhurried ticking was, like none other, apiece with the leisureliness of the old days, have gone, and in their place has come the small, machine-produced metal affair that stands on the mantelshelf, a cheeky, fussy intruder that compares ill in feature and in voice with the tall fellow that stood aloof in dignity and in honoured age in the kitchen corner. And the farm wireless outfit, giving the daily time signal, makes regulation a matter of a minute, whereas the steadfastness of the tall clock could be a matter of concern.