Servicing keeps things ticking along

It’s probably no surprise that over the course of its 600-year history the Trust has acquired a collection of antique furniture.

These range from a large Arts & Crafts Mouseman table and relics of the medieval bridge to a picture by renowned artist J M W Turner and a selection of antique clocks.

As part of an ongoing conservation programme for the heritage collection, two antique clocks have been cleaned and serviced by a local craftsperson.

The first is a beautiful George III long-case clock made from mahogany and brass. The clock has a striking mechanism, which can be put on silent, and a dial to indicate the date. Purchased by the Trust in 1939 to go in the Bridge Chamber, it dates from around 1800 and was made by John Collett of Chelsea.

In addition to servicing the clock mechanism, the refurbishment included removing and replacing the original oak ‘platform’ on which the clock movement sat; the wood had started to split and might not have been able to sustain the weight of the movement in years to come. A suitable replacement wood was sourced from a supplier in Strood.

The second to have received some TLC is a Louis XIV-style clock in brass gilt with enamel numerals. It is ornately decorated with a female face to the front and satyr heads at the sides, and features a gentle chime and an eight-day working movement.

Made in France by CH Boye in the late 1800s, the clock is extremely heavy and designed to rest on a large mantelpiece. It was purchased in 1884 by the Trust from Edwards and Roberts of Wardour Street, London, at a cost of just over £31.

Providing the clocks are wound every seven days – if they stop it’s detrimental to the mechanism – they should run smoothly for at least another five years. This weekly winding is part of our Operations Team’s routine.

The clocks and other items from the Trust’s heritage collection can be viewed in the Bridge Chapel and Bridge Chamber during the current round of Open Days.

A third clock is due to be sent for servicing by our Maidstone-based horologist, Martin Joyce, later in the year.

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