One of Edinburgh’s traditional meeting places, known as the Binn’s Clock, has been meticulously restored as part of the new Johnnie Walker whisky experience.
The cantilever clock on the corner of Princes Street and Hope Street was a popular rendezvous for couples meeting before an evening out. It took its name from the former department store that installed it in 1960.
It has been restored over the past year by The Cumbria Clock Company which has worked on some of the UK’s most famous timepieces, including The Great Clock (Big Ben) and the Royal Liver Building.
The company dismantled the timepiece to study its original mechanics and colours, including the hand painted highland figures that march out of the clock to mark the hour and half hour, before rebuilding it.
The musical mechanism plays the traditional Scottish tunes ‘Caller Herrin’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’ every half an hour as the kilted figures march out of the clock. In keeping with tradition, the highland figures will emerge to the musical accompaniment every seven and 37 minutes past the hour.
Barbara Smith, managing director of Diageo’s Scottish Brand Homes, said: “The restoration of the clock has been a lovely part of our work at Johnnie Walker Princes Street. Its heritage and connection with the local community is so poignant, particularly now when people are desperately missing being able to meet and socialise together.
“We wanted to unveil the restored clock in time for Valentine’s Day this year as a symbol of hope for the future, and we can’t wait to see future generations meeting under the clock at Johnnie Walker Princes Street, before enjoying a wonderful day or night out in Scotland’s capital city.”
Mark Crangle from the Cumbria Clock Company said: “It has been a meticulous process restoring the clock to its original condition. We had to delicately strip back worn paintwork to source and match the clock’s original colours and gold trimmings, and we spent a great amount of time on the speed and timings of the bells, tunes and pipers to ensure it all matched perfectly.
“Working on this restoration project has been such a privilege and I’ve really enjoyed hearing the stories of what the clock means to locals and how it’s played a role in so many special memories. These stories really consolidate why we do what we do, and we can’t wait for Edinburgh residents to now be able to enjoy the clock again in all its grandeur.”
The restoration of the clock was co-funded by Parabola, the owners of the Johnnie Walker Princes Street building which was previously occupied by House of Fraser.
It is being transformed into a visitor centre with bars meeting rooms as part of a £185m investment in distillery tourism by Diageo across the country.