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The Alexander Bain

This pub is named after a great inventor.

Market Place, Wick, Highland, KW1 4LP

Alexander Bain was born on the outskirts of Wick in 1810. He invented the electric clock and designed an electromagnetic means of transmitting images. A commemorative plaque on the council offices, next to these premises, records his considerable achievements.

An illustration and text about Alexander Bain.

The text reads: Alexander Bain born in 1810, near Watten in Caithness. A prolific inventor whose inventions include the electric clock, electric printing telegraph and the facsimile machine.

Bain’s fascination with clocks started from a young age, he used to made imaginary clocks using heather for the mechanism. In 1830 he began an apprenticeship as a watch and clock maker with John Sellar of Stafford Place, Wick.

After Bain read an article on a ‘strange new power’ called electricity he attended a lecture on the subject of Thurso. This was to be the turning point in his life, all he could think about was electricity and in order to gain more knowledge in this new power he left Wick.

In 1837 Bain arrived in London and worked as a clock maker in Clerkenwell. During this time he was able to achieve his ambition, exploring the possibilities of electricity as a power to drive the mechanisms of a clock. This led to further ideas of using electricity to make a printing telegraph and fax machine.

Alexander Bain has always been described in Caithness as a quiet, humble main who never forgot his beginnings. He paid his last visit to Caithness in 1874 and died in Kirkintilloch on 2 January 1877.

Illustrations of Alexander Bain’s inventions.

A sculpture inspired by Alexander Bain’s invention of the fax machine.

The text reads: Alexander Bain’s invention of the fax machine works by breaking up the images into black and white segments and transmitting lines in a similar way to Morse Code.

The sculpture has been inspired by this invention and you can use the Morse Code alphabet to spell out the name of a famous local man.

Photographs and text about the Post Office.

The text reads: This distinctive building situated in the Market Place opened in 1914 (pictured bottom left during construction). The three story building housed the telegraph and telephone rooms and served as the town’s main Post Office until the early 1990s.

In 1840 the introduction of the Penny Post, the world’s first pre-paid adhesive postage stamp, made a huge difference to the people of Wick, as it relieved the town of the mileage charge on mail. A mail coach arrives outside the new Post Office building c1920 (pictured above left).

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk