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Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009
Poet's clock to be sent 'home'

Long-case grandmother clock
The clock was restored in Northleach and will be handed over in January

To mark the 70th anniversary of the death of WH Davies, an antique clock of his is to be handed back to the people of Newport.

In a ceremony to take place on Tuesday, 12 January, 2010, the long-case grandmother clock will be handed over from the Deputy Mayor of Nailsworth to the Mayor and Mayoress of Newport, Gwent.

The clock was given by the citizens of Newport in 1930 as a tribute to the Nailsworth-based poet, famous for his book The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.

An inscription on the clock reads: "Presented to William Henry Davies by admiring fellow townsfolk of his native Town of Newport."

The present owner of the clock is Nailsworth resident Norman Phillips, the great nephew of the poet and his only descendant in the United Kingdom.


Mr Phillips feels the time has come for the clock to be in safe keeping and publicly displayed in the town of his great uncle's birth.

The clock, of mahogany and over five feet high, was made by a Newport firm now based in Hereford.

Norman Phillips
Norman Phillips is WH Davies' only descendant in the United Kingdom

It has recently been restored by craftsman Keith Harding at his mechanical music workshops in Northleach.

Mr Howard Phillips, nephew of Mr Norman Phillips, is flying from his home in New Zealand for the ceremony - it will be his first meeting with his uncle for many years.

Visitors from Newport and others will have the opportunity to see Glendower, the historic cottage on Watledge, Nailsworth, where Davies lived for the last few years of his life - and where he died in 1940.

A plaque in Welsh slate is fixed on the front of the cottage, with an inscription placed soon after the poet's death by Norman Phillips's mother, including Davies's most famous lines:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?


Glendower is now sadly in need of repair. Mr Phillips has spent large sums on saving it from dereliction, but it is currently not habitable.

Plaque on clock
The clock was given as a tribute to WH Davies by the citizens of Newport

There is a proposal to set up a trust fund in Norman Phillips' name, to preserve the cottage and perhaps commission a fitting memorial to the man who was one of Gloucestershire's most famous writers.

The initiative to save Glendower, to return the clock to South Wales and to commemorate the poet's anniversary is largely due to one man - Anthony Burton.

Anthony is a leading Nailsworth resident, friend of Norman Phillips and leader of the Nailsworth Society's Local History Research Group, who has gathered a petition with several hundred names calling for these aims to be achieved.


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