The Rowland Emett Water Clock

by Joe Earp

The Emett Clock also known as The Aqua Horological Tintinnabulater was designed and created by Rowland Emett. The Clock arrived at the Victoria Centre in 1973. Since it’s installation the Clock has become a much loved local landmark and a popular meeting place.

Since its first installation the clock has chimed on the hour and half hour, playing ‘Gigue en Rondeau II’ (1724) from Rameau’s (1683–1764), ‘Pieces de Clavecin’ Suite in E-minor. This musical animated sculpture was originally situated between Boots, Next and John Lewis (formerly Jessops) on the lower mall of the Victoria Shopping Centre. At some point, the clock was modified to chime and play the music every fifteen minutes.


The Clock in it’s original position in the Victoria Shopping Centre, 20 February 1973- Photo Credit: Nottingham Post Group Ltd.

In 2014 the future of the clock looked grim. There were reports in the media and in the local community that the clock was going to be dismantled and would no longer be displayed in the Victoria Centre. Thankfully the clock was not going to be moved. In 2014, after over 40 years at the heart of the shopping centre, the Emett Clock was lovingly restored by local Engineer Pete Dexter and The Rowland Emett Society. Over the summer of 2014 the clock went on display for a exhibition at the Millennium Point in Birmingham.

After it had been on display in Birmingham it was put into storage until December 2014. The parts were then transported back to Nottingham where further refurbishment work was carried out by Pete Dexter. It was then officially reassembled in its current location on the north end of the upper mall in the Victoria Centre. Its stature, colour scheme and most of its original water features were restored. It was officially re-started on 17 June 2015 by Emma Jaggers, grand-daughter of Pete Dexter.

So the future of the clock looks safe for now. A common little local custom connected with the clock is to throw a coin into the clock’s pond and make a wish. Many children and adults alike have done this over the years and the custom has become very popular among shoppers to the Victoria Centre. All donations are given to local charities.


The Return of The Rowland Emett Water Clock to the Victoria Centre- 16 June 2015- Photo Credit: Joe Earp/Nottingham Hidden History Team.


About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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