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All Gershom Parkington grandfather clocks now on display at Bury St Edmunds museum

Cllr Jo Rayner with one of the restored Gershom Parkington clocks
Cllr Jo Rayner with one of the restored Gershom Parkington clocks

Every grandfather clock in the renowned Gershom Parkington collection is now in working order and on display at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is trustee of the collection, which is valued at £8 to £10 million, and was bequeathed to the borough by Frederick Gershom Parkington in 1953 in memorial to his son John.

Three clocks have now been restored including a De Charmes long case.

“We have spent a little shy of £4,000 on the challenging task of restoring the remaining three Gershom Parkington long case clocks with the result that every long case clock is now working and on display for public enjoyment and research,” said said heritage officer, Alex McWhirter.

“Our ambition is to display all that is possible from the Gershom-Parkington bequest,

“Some of the collection is just parts and there are also timepieces that have not worked, possibly since they were first acquired.

“We are using these pieces and the generous bequest to bring as much as possible back to life.”

One of the clocks is the heavily engraved Daniel Johnson long case, the collection’s earliest example of a quarter striking long case, dating from the last quarter of the 17th Century.

Considerable work was undertaken to restore the De Charmes long case.

Simon De Charmes was a Huguenot refugee who became an eminent clockmaker. he became so successful, he later built himself Grove Hall, in Hammersmith.

Paperwork suggests that when this example was bought, it was little more than a case and movement, most likely acquired for restoration. The work undertaken meant a pendulum and two weights had to be specially made.

The long case clocks have now joined all of the Augsburg clocks, bracket clocks, watches and dials on display.

“The borough has an extensive collection which is actively restored and conserved by the Museum’s Accredited Heritage Service for the benefit of the public” said Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and heritage.

“I’m very pleased that people have the opportunity to see and enjoy the treasures we have.”

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