Joyce is the oldest turret clock manufacturer still in existence in the world. The company was founded by William Joyce, who was born in 1692 and made longcase clocks in the North Shropshire village of Cockshutt. The company was handed down through the generations and moved to Whitchurch, Shropshire, at the end of the 18th century. William’s son John, grandson James and great grandson Thomas were all clockmakers, and in 1834 Thomas began to make turret clocks for churches and public buildings. Many of these are still in existence today, with the earliest known example being at Tallarn Green church near Wrexham. In 1849 the Joyce company copied the escapement of Britain’s most famous clock, Big Ben, made to a design by Lord Grimthope. In 1853 Thomas and his son James introduced the innovative gravity and pinwheel escapements which were more accurate timekeepers. The company was taken over by Smith of Derby in 1965 after the retirement of the last member of the family, Norman Joyce, but until 2014 remained in its original premises at Station Road, Whitchurch, which were purpose built in 1904.
Although Joyce are primarily known for their turret clocks, the family, who included William, John, James, Thomas, James and JB, Walter and Arthur and Norman Joyce, also made a number of smaller timepieces such as longcase and railway clocks and wall regulators which are also of interest to collectors. In 2012, Smiths auctioned off much of the contents of Station Road including equipment and tower clock parts dating back more than 100 years, and items from this period remain of interest to historians and clock enthusiasts alike.
Joyce has a long and proud heritage. Their clocks were internationally renowned and greatly respected, and still command a high price. Value varies, with condition, complexity and rarity being driving factors when determining cost. Rarer examples, such as those showing use of innovative techniques or having a proven association with a local landmark or figure will enhance the value.
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