Work has started to restore a Gillett and Brand clock, as part of the ongoing restoration work to Lowther Castle near Penrith, Cumbria.
The Cumbria Clock Company, based at Dacre, not far from the Lowther Estate, has dismantled the clock and removed parts to their workshop ahead of restoration.
Installed in 1877 by famous clock makers Gillett and Brand, it has kept time in the stable courtyard for generations of grooms and stable hands.
Andrew Mercer, Project Director for the Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust said: “We are very lucky to have an historic clock company with experience of working on clocks as famous as Big Ben just on our doorstep. It was a considerable relief to find the clock mechanics in good condition, and great to know the clock can be returned to perfect working order. ”
A number of the original features of the clock will be maintained.
Pulleys and the lengthy wires that suspend the heavy lead weights have been carefully removed and will be fully reconditioned in time for the opening of the new visitor centre in Spring 2012.
Removing the bronze bells was particularly challenging for the restoration project, with the largest weighing in at 70kg and requiring a custom built scaffold tower.
One new bell will also be cast as part of the restoration project. This will replace the smallest bell.
The only concession to modern times will be the addition of an electric winder, so the daily climb up the steps to wind the crank handle will not have to be made.
The castle grounds and 130 acres of gardens at Lowther are open to visitors 10.00am to 5.00pm every day; with admittance price £5.00 for adults.
The first phase of the Lowther Castle and Gardens project will take three years and is supported by £8.9m of grant funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers hints at two calculations by a Benjamin L. Vulliamy, for the rate of going of a clock for Lowther Castle (1813 – 1814). We are unsure if this account refers to this clock however.