James Condliff first set up in business at 32 Gerard Street, Liverpool, in 1816. The Industrial Revolution had ensured that large numbers of workers were involved in watchmaking in Liverpool and Condliff's business expanded to become one of the most successful in the country, particularly renowned for skeleton top quality clocks and regulators.
Between 1816-1827 Condliff had premises in Gerard Street, Circus Street and Fraser Street. After 1827 he was joined by Joseph Condliff and they continued to work at Fraser Street (probably the workshops) and also in Clare Street. In 1846 a branch of the business opened in Everton under Jospeh's name and that year also John Condliff appears, in premises at Mount Vernon. The last Condliff in the business was Thomas who is recorded as working between 1867-1914, whilst the last mention of James dates to 1884, although it is likely that he had retired by 1862.
Derek Roberts (op. cit) divides Condliff's skeleton clocks into three series: first (1825-50); second (1850-c.1870); third (1855-1860).
The present clock belongs to the second series and is distinguished by its delicate scroll frame and balance escapement (although a pendulum is used occasionally). Although these clocks follow the same basic design there are often minor differences. The present example is quarter chiming and it has a noticably deeper base than the other plain hour striking two-train examples. In addition the present clock has a back-painted glass dial, a feature not found on any other known examples by Condliff. The clock is illustrated in Roberts op. cit. with an inner white painted chapter ring numbered 13-24; when the original blue and gilt painted I-XII outer ring was being restored it was discovered that the inner white painted ring was a poor quality later addition and so it was removed. The result shows how Condliff originally designed this unique dial with a crisp narrow blue chapter ring and elegant gilt Roman chapters.