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Perpetual Clock
Clarendon AR
Monroe NC
Private Collections
Historical Collection

Charleston SC

The front portion of this Charleston, S.C. hotel was built 140 years ago and is in the traditional Charleston single house style. The Charleston single was a popular architectural style in the mid-1800's and is distinguished by it's single room width with the house set at right angles to the street.

At the Historic Meeting Street Inn in Charleston, SC, this clock hangs over the "Check-in Counter" high on the wall. It measures almost 4 1/2 feet in height, with a 26 inch diameter dial. Easily read from a distance, this clock is refered to as an "Act of Parliament Clock" , Circa 1800...England. The numerals, hands, and brass fittings were gold-leafed.

Made in England around 1800, the "Act of Parliament" term arose when a 1797 tax against clocks of five shillings was introduced by the Prime Minister William Pitt. At the time, this was very expensive so many people could not afford to buy their own clocks. As a solution, many Inns and Taverns put large clocks in their buildings so as to help people tell the time and to get extra customers for their business. The clocks were very plain in design and the dials could have been up to five feet in diameter! The tax was very unpopular with clockmakers and was repealed after nine months.