We have had many enquiries about when our beautifully restored clock face is actually going to start telling the time again.
The clock mechanism has been fully restored, and we've been looking after it for some time now.
But the clock needs a bell to strike, and although the bell itself has been restored, a decision to comission a bespoke medieval-style bell frame to hang it in (rather than the ugly, awkward and not very safe RSJ that the bell had previously been strapped to), has caused a short delay.
Bell foundries (who also have skilled craftspeople capable of building bespoke wooden medieval-style bell frames) are few and far between in the UK. The one that we are using is extremely busy.
So we weren't holding our breath.
Then, out of the blue, and ahead of schedule we were sent the photographs below, showing that they are making amazing progress (thanks guys!):
- Restored bell with the wooden part of the new headstock in place
- New bell frame under construction
- Bell frame assembled with protective finish applied (notice that it is held together with threaded steel rods, allowing it to be partially dismantled so the parts will fit through our small 'loft hatch' into the bell chamber
All of this work is being funded by the Robert Lucas Trust, for which we are immensley grateful. Shefford's very own Trust aims 'To assist the needy and organisations benefiting the public in the parish of Shefford, which also includes educational grants for university students'
So, the answers to the big questions:
- When will the clock start telling the time? - the best information that we have so far is 'late summer' (2019)
- When will the bell start chiming again? - same as above, BUT the bell will be striking, NOT chiming (chiming is the 'pretty bit' ahead of the strike that requires a number of bells to enable a tune to be played). Only one bell, so we'll have to strike. For now...
Photographs and Information: Patricia Goulding
Editorial: Stephen Lines
Date: 1st July 2019