Sun. May 26th, 2024

The grandfather clock was donated to the Trades House Museum in 2022 by the Incorporation of Hammermen for safe keeping. The clock was presented to the Incorporation of Hammermen by Ex-Deacon Alexander B. Allan when he was Late Collector in May 1931. The clock is an excellent example of one of the Hammermen’s crafts and was made by Robert Breakenrig around 1757.  He had a business in the Grass Market, Edinburgh. Breakenrig was never a member of the Incorporation of Hammermen as he was a Kings Freeman due to having served as a soldier who fought against the Jacobites in 1745. The clock used to have pride of place in the Incorporation’s Clerk’s Room.

Below Extracts from Muir Hammermen book:







Among the Hammermen’s possessions, the Grandfather’s Clock which adorns the Clerk’s Room has an honoured place. The Clock stands six feet eight inches in height and is contained in a case of stained oak. Its face is of brass, with hour, minute and second hands of iron and it records, in addition to the time, the days of the month in a slotted recess. The gong for sounding the hours is of a pleasing tone. The brass face is engraved with a foliated design and the maker’s name, ” Breakenrig, Edinburgh”. The Clock was made about 1757 and while it is a magnificent example of work which falls within the ambit of the Hammermen Craft, its greatest claim to interest is perhaps that it was made by one who was never a member of any Incorporation, a somewhat remarkable achievement at a date when the power of the Crafts was still unaffected by the Reform Act. Within its case it bears the following printed intimation :

The maker, Robert Breakenrig in business in the Grass Market, Edinburgh, in the year 1757 was prosecuted as an unfree man.

This implied imprisonment in the Tolbooth if the Incorporation choose to exercise their powers, but was generally met by the payment of a fee £2 Stg., known as “Stallangers ” dues, which had to be paid yearly. This capable man, for some unknown reason, would not join the Incorporation of Hammermen and remained outside their jurisdiction all his life. The Clock was presented to the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow by Ex-Deacon Alexander B. Allan when Late Collector in May 1931, and a small plate on the reverse side of the case door bears an inscription to that effect. At a Meeting on 4th June, 1931, the Court expressed warm appreciation of Mr. Allan’s gift.