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New Smith of Derby clock built for Edinburgh's L’escargot bleu

Published: June 10, 2015
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Just like the hands of a clock, what goes around comes around. So when clockmakers James Ritchie & Son, a Smith of Derby company, were called out to build a new external clock for the award-winning Edinburgh restaurant L’escargot bleu, it was like stepping back in time.

It emerged that the restaurant is housed in the clockmaking businesses former home and the projecting clock they were replacing was a James Ritchie original that had stood there for decades.
Fred Berkmiller, Chef Proprietor of L’escargot bleu, said: “The clock was an important feature of the building and it is something I have been keen to bring back because it’s a piece of beautiful architecture that draws people towards it. For years I’ve wanted to give this iconic structure back to the locals of Edinburgh and it feels great to finally be able to give them exactly what they want.”

Clock face

Tony Charlesworth, Smith of Derby Technical Sales Engineer, said: “There’s a fantastic synergy to the job and it will be wonderful to see a new clock back where it belongs to replace the old one. It’s part of the company and the city’s heritage. The former clock stood on the site for decades before it fell into disrepair so building a new one has been a labour of love, as much as it is anything else.”

James Ritchie & Son moved into the premises in Broughton Street in 1965, having previously been based on Leith Street. They left in 2006 and the clock came down at the same time.
Fred Berkmiller opened his first Edinburgh restaurant in 1998 and went on to open L’escargot blanc in the west end. In 2009, he renovated an old clockmaker’s shop on 56 Broughton Street to open L’escargot bleu, a popular bistro steeped in French culture, and earlier this year they won a prestigious AA Rosette for culinary excellence. Both restaurants are renowned for serving a unique collaboration of classic provincial French cuisine with the finest Scottish, seasonal produce.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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