Sheringham-born clock maker designs wacky creation for Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant

Clock designer Paul Beckett from Sheringham.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Clock designer Paul Beckett from Sheringham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
7:00 AM

A Sheringham-born clock maker who has spent his career creating unique time pieces for high-profile clients has seen Heston Blumenthal become his latest customer.

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Paul Beckett, 42, was commissioned to make the 1.5metre clock for Mr Blumenthal’s Kensington restaurant, Dinner by Heston.

The one-of-a-kind clock took the former Sheringham High School student more than a year to make, and will be installed in the London restaurant this week.

And Mr Beckett, who recently moved back to Sheringham with his son Joseph, 11, after more than 20 years away, said his designs were always wacky and unusual.

“I strive to work on projects that are too difficult because I like the challenge,” he said. “Making a clock is almost like creating a being, you give birth to this object but then it leaves you and goes to the client.”

At the age of 18 Mr Beckett completed a foundation course at the former Norwich Art school before moving to London to embark on a degree at the Chelsea College of Art. He then completed a fellowship the art of clock making, known as horology, at the Birmingham School of Jewellery.

He said: “At the time engineering seemed a really boring subject so I decided I would like to make things that told time.” A grant from the Prince’s Trust set Mr Beckett up with a studio in north Wales where he began restoring clocks for antique shops.

Click here to see more quirky clocks - including two in East Anglia

His first custom clock was a £36,000 millennium clock for the Cheshire town of Nantwich which still takes pride of place in the town centre.

After travelling the world to exhibit internationally, Mr Beckett moved back to Sheringham at Christmas to be closer to his parents and five brothers and sisters.

His clocks range in price from £20,000 to £90,000, depending on the complexity, and he said they are clocks are his legacy, intended to run for thousands of years. “The client is generally the custodian, in 100 years it will be an antique, in 500 years it will be in a museum.”

Although all Mr Beckett’s clocks are mechanical, Mr Blumenthal’s has been designed with an internal electronic swiss master clock, which keeps time even in the restaurant’s varying temperatures.

And Sheringham engineering firm Kingsland helped to fine-tune it.

To see more of Mr Beckett’s work, visit www.paulbeckett.com

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