The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1987, Volume 33, Number 1
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

Jessop Street Clock

Cover: San Diego’s famous Jessop Street Clock, photographed here in its present location at Horton Plaza. The popular time piece celebrates its 80th Birthday this year — having originally been installed on the sidewalk in front of the family’s jewelry store at 952 Fifth Avenue. Courtesy The Hahn Company.

Jessop Street Clock

The Jessop Street Clock.

Joseph Jessop

Joseph Jessop (1851-1932)
founder of J. Jessop & Sons Jewelers
and designer of the Jessop Street Clock.

Jessop store in Lythem, England

The Jessop store in Lythem, England,
c. 1882 — living quarters were upstairs.

Claude Ledger is seen at extreme left in yachting party.

Claude Ledger, the man who built the Jessop Street Clock, is seen at extreme left in yachting party.

Claude Ledger

Ledger was the first Jessop employee to be hired outside the family. Born in 1870, he graduated from the Elgin Watch School and worked for the Jessops until his death in 1930. He spent some 15 months putting the Street Clock together. Ledger’s hobby was yachting and he became commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club, which later became the San Diego Yacht Club.

Jessop's shop

It was in this Jessop’s shop
that the Street Clock was built in 1907.

Jessop mine on Mt. Palomar

Many of the jewels for the Street Clock came from the Jessop mine on Mt. Palomar. Seen here are J. Jessop (left) and Mr. Hansen who operated the mine.

first photograph taken of the Jessop Street Clock

The first photograph taken of the Jessop Street Clock in 1907 at its original location, 952 Fifth Avenue. Before being installed the clock’s movement had been exhibited at the Sacramento State Fair where it won a gold medal.

1915 photo of clock and Jessop employees

A photograph taken in 1915 shows the clock and Jessop employees. Joseph Jessop is in the front row (next to the clock) with Claude Ledger on his immediate left.

The clock won a gold medal

The clock won a gold medal at the 1907 California State Fair. The exhibit featured the extensive movement constructed by Mr. Ledger.

gold medal

The gold medal at the
1907 California State Fair.


California State Fair Ribbon

Jessop Clock at Fifth Avenue

Jessop clock at its second location,
1041 Fifth Avenue.

Harry Nash and M. Fuhrer

Harry Nash (seated) and M. Fuhrer
with the clock’s movement during a “check-up.”.

postcard of the clock

A postcard of the clock shows it was a popular tourist attraction.

Wilbur Wemer inside the clock

Wilbur (Bill) Wemer inside the
clock’s base while taking it apart.

The clock begins its move

The clock begins its move from the 1041 Fifth Avenue location to Horton Plaza.

reassembling the clock

The delicate task of reassembling the time piece starts.

At Horton Plaza location

The author adjusting the clock’s movement
at the new Horton Plaza location.

Horton Plaza on New Year's Eve

Back Cover: New Year’s Eve, 1987, at Horton Plaza.
Courtesy San Diego Union Tribune.

Back to the article: The Jessop Street Clock