Historic town clock to stop chiming for first time in 142 years
PUBLISHED: 14:26 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:26 25 September 2018
An iconic town clock will stop chiming next week for the first time in its 142-year history – to allow safety work to take place.
The historic clock on the front of Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds’ town centre – a regular meeting place for friends – has chimed every quarter of an hour night and day over the years.
The clock takes nearly 250 turns to wind and takes a member of the heritage staff around 20 minutes every Tuesday to do so.
But for the first time on record, it is being allowed to wind down and will chime for the last time on Monday, October 1.
It will allow contractors, who are installing a new fire alarm system, to access the wells underneath the huge and heavy weights which keep the clock ticking.
The work is expected to take several days but once completed, staff will rewind the clock and people in Bury St Edmunds will hear its chimes once more.
Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The clock is part of the social history of the town centre - many couples over the years have arranged to meet for their first date under the town clock while it is also a regular meeting place for friends.
“While it is the first time that we know of that the clock has stopped, we can reassure residents that it will soon be back ticking once more - and if you have the time we have plenty of fascinating historical clocks on display in the museum itself.”
The clock pre-dates the museum and was bought from Vale and Richardson in Abbeygate Street in 1876.
The business expanded into diamonds and jewellery before being taken over by Thurlow Champness – which remains in Abbeygate Street to this day.
While the clock was bought in 1876, the 12th-century building, which has served as a workhouse and a police station, didn’t become a museum until 1899.
The museum houses clocks from the Gershom Parkington collection and has recently put an Act of Parliament Clock, also known as a Tavern Clock, on display. Although it is not clear where this particular clock originates from, it is labelled with a list of local people who were hanged including Red Barn murderer William Corder in 1828.