A reminder of times gone by

Phil and clock
Phil and clock

When he saw the pitch pine pews being removed from a Deeside church last year, Phil Taylor could not let it pass without a timely reminder.

Phil, who was ordained an elder of Banchory West Church by the Rev Iain F. Paton in 1983 and served as property convener for eight years from that date, held the heritage of his church with such love and respect that he decided to create a grandfather clock from the beautifully grained wood of a pew.



The Kirk was set to undergo a major refurbishment after 130 years of service to the community.

Minister, the Rev. Tony Stephen, granted Phil permission to help himself to one of the pews and some floor boards to build the clock.

As a close friend of Finzean cabinetmaker Tom Ironside, Phil was able to use a bench at Tom’s workshop to carry out his project.

This privilege, to work within those hallowed walls alongside such skilled men and women cabinetmakers spurred Phil on to produce a fine timepiece.

Both Phil and Tom are members of the Wrights & Coopers Incorporation of Aberdeen.

Since losing his wife, Margaret, eight years ago, Phil has taken on projects to keep him occupied and his mind off the terrible loss.

Aged 73, he purchased his first motorbike. Not one to do anything by halves, Phil took it to John o’ Groats then down to Land’s End before returning to Banchory.

His love for this mode of transport was such that he bought a bigger bike - 125cc - and took and passed his test at age 74. His next sortie was a 1000-mile trip around Orkney and the Western Isles using seven ferries.

On reaching the age of 77 this year, Phil has put his beloved bike up for sale and - after making a lovely Adam’s style fireplace for his home last year - has completed his piece de resistance, the grandfather clock, just in time.

With arthritis taking command, he has laid aside his woodworking tools.

The clock stands seven feet six inches tall and is entirely made from wood of the old Kirk.

Apart from the fine grained pitch pine of the main clock body a special feature is in the back boards of the clock. These are made up using the inch and half thick, Scots pine flooring which Phil cut down to half inch thickness, gluing three together edge to edge and keeping the trodden surface to the outside, thus preserving the footprints of some 130 years patronage to the Kirk.

Who knows what this multitalented Deesider will take on next!