Shropshire Star

Talking Telford: Taking a dip into the quaint history of Telford's famous timepiece

In the heart of Telford, strange things are happening right over our heads that offer a glimpse into a quainter past - things involving soap bubbles, elaborate metal mechanisms and one of the biggest frogs on the planet.

The ‘frog clock’ does more than tell the time

Of course I’m talking about the ‘frog clock’, one of Telford’s more characterful public art projects (and we’ve got plenty of those - have you seen the roundabouts?). This bizarre machine (officially known as the Telford Time Machine) hangs over an open square in Telford’s main shopping centre in two parts: a charming facsimile of a hot air balloon on one side and a whimsical scene on the other featuring an enormous green frog sitting atop the clock, the two parts joined by a huge metal rail with a wheel running between.

It does more than tell the time: at 30-minute intervals, a halo of metal leaves fans out behind the frog while a wheel with a cup atop transports a gold-plated ball from the hot air balloon across to the giant amphibian, the frog opening its mouth and croaking forth a stream of bubbles all the while.