The One and Only: John L. Queen and His Grandfather Clocks

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - By: Novella R, Hope ‘25

A home is where people feel safe, supported, and loved. That is what Brentwood has provided for many students, families, and faculty. Look closely at the small things around campus; you may find pieces of Brentwood’s history and how it has impacted our community. Among these are fifteen lovingly handcrafted Grandfather clocks made by Brentwood icon Mr John Queen.

John Queen has been a physics teacher, House Master, musical director, rowing coach, Brentwood Regatta Chairmanand one, tutor who has been involved with our community for over 50 years. As a House Master in Whittall House, "He ran a 'tight' ship but always made himself available for his Whittall boys" indicates Ms Donna Decker. Mr Queen was also a dedicated physics teacher and rowing coach who started the musical theatre program and the Brentwood Regatta alongside Mr Tony Carr. Mr Queen had a passion for physics, which is partly why he loved clock-making and woodworking. Mr. Queen has made hundreds of clocks; the ones at Brentwood are all designed for a specific building.  

Mr Queen has lived the school's growth and development. He worked with Mr David Mackenzie, the refounding Head of School from 1962-1976 when Brentwood was an all-boys school with 130 students. 2023 is Brentwood’s 100th anniversary and opens the opportunity to look back at the school's history. Mr. Bud Patel, the Head of School, observed, “the Grandfather Clocks are markers in the history of the school,” signifying the development of each building in the community.

Mr. John Queen is a prominent part of the Brentwood community. He reflected: “Coming to Brentwood was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was my family; I loved it here - along with everyone in it.” His face glowed while watching the students flow through Crooks Hall and listening to students play the piano. Seeing how much the Brentwood community has grown since his time here gives him pure fulfillment. The school will always have a special place in his heart, and our community will always be thankful for everything he has done and created for us.

He has given us the gift of time - his and his clocks’.

Novella R, Hope ‘25

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