The Millennium Clock

The Millennium Clock

The Millennium Clock and Time Capsule, Hendford


Many thanks to Helen Ferdinand, Deputy Town Clerk, for the following.


On the 1 April 1997 Yeovil Town Council set up the Millennium Working Party to consider the ‘ways and means’ of celebrating the Millennium. At the time, an open-air stage was being considered as the main project, but in June 1998 the Town Council agreed that the installation of a public clock tower be selected as the Town Council’s Millennium Project.

The specification for the clock tower was that it should be free-standing, have a Millennium theme representing past and present, and should be of suitable materials and design to withstand the ravages of time. Suggestions and designs for the public clock tower were invited, and submissions were received from Yeovil College, Preston School, Bucklers Mead School, and two individuals. Leslie Brooke, Yeovil historian and keen artist, also provided a design for a traditional clock tower.

A number of locations for the clock tower were considered around the town centre including the lower end of Middle Street, either at The Triangle or the junction with Central Road, King George Street, or Hendford - where it was eventually erected.

A local stonemason, Martock Masonry, was asked to provide a column made of local Ham stone to support the clock, and also to provide four Ham stone inscription tablets to form the square base onto which bold designs could be engraved. Leslie Brooke designed the engravings for the tablets illustrating the local traditional industries of gloving and dairy farming, as well as the more recent industries of engineering and helicopters. The Town Council agreed that the fourth tablet was to be engraved with the wording:


A planning application for the erection of a clock tower was submitted by the Town Council in August 1999, and permission granted in October 1999. The clock tower was described as being 6.3m high and of traditional design, and was considered a welcome addition to the street scene in the Conservation Area.

The foundation for the clock was installed during November 1999, and the erection of the clock tower commenced on 29th November 1999. The clock box (provided by John Smith & Sons, clock manufacturers of Derby) was installed on 13 December. The unveiling was carried out with an event on the afternoon of 16th December 1999 when 100 green and white helium balloons were released, and a green and white drape, made by Town Councillor Maggie Foot, was removed to reveal the new Millennium Clock.

The Mayor and other representatives of the Town Council were present at the unveiling, as well as Milford Junior School Choir and the Preston Community School Band, and representatives of Westlands and Pittard's.


The Time Capsule

The Town Council arranged to have a time capsule placed in the base of the clock tower and invited ideas for the contents from the public. Chloe, who was a child at the time, recalls writing a letter for the capsule and attending the unveiling:

“It is a very happy and vivid memory. I was in Grass Royal Junior School at the time, and I was 10 years old. I can remember being so excited that my letter was chosen, we had to write about life in Yeovil in 1999 and write it to the future people of Yeovil. I vividly remember drawing a large green helicopter and speaking of my dad's job in the navy and at Westland helicopters, as well as my favourite things, and what I liked to do with my little sister. I remember some important people came to look at the letters and two were chosen. I remember being told it would be opened in 2080, and me wondering what I would be like at 90!”



If you were involved in the unveiling of the Millennium Clock, or have any photographs of the event, please email me (my email address is at the bottom right of the home page), for inclusion in this page - you will be credited.



Courtesy of Yeovil Town Council

The Planning Application drawing for the Millennium Clock, 1999.


The panel illustrating the local traditional industries of gloving and dairy farming. Photographed on 18 March 2013.


The panel illustrating the more recent industry of engineering with a Petters oil engine. Photographed on 18 March 2013.



The panel illustrating the most recent industry of helicopter manufacturing. Photographed on 18 March 2013.