Around three years ago the clock at St Georges Church Ticknall stopped chiming. After several attempts to rectify the problem it was decided that we needed to call in expert help to solve the problem.
Smith of Derby is a well known and respected firm of clockmakers and so we consulted them. It was then that we realised that our clock was an important timepiece made by John Whitehurst of Derby in 1813. In fact the founder of Smith of Derby had been apprenticed to John Whitehurst.
The clock was installed in the old church in 1813 at a cost of £63.00. In 1842 when St Georges church was built the clock was one of the few things to move to the new church and a new dial was installed. The original dial remains in front of the church.
Remarkably, since 1842 the responsibility of winding the clock weekly has been undertaken by only five people, three of them belonging to the Marriott family.
As a result of the Smith visit we were informed that the clock needed a complete overhaul and restoration, the first in 200 years. We were advised that the clock could be brought into the 21st century by installing an electric winding mechanism and a regulator that ensures the clock’s accuracy without compromising the historic integrity of the clock. This means that the clock would no longer be required to be wound manually. The cost of this work was quoted at around £15,000.00 – funds that the Church did not have.
Our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant was successful and with further grants from Ticknall Preservation & Historical Society and Ticknall Parish Council, the Church was able to sanction the renovation and restoration of our Church Clock.
In June of this year, Peter Marriott wound the clock for the last time by hand and the clock was dismantled and removed to Smith of Derby. Three months later the clock was ready to come back and be installed back in the bell tower at Ticknall.
The clock is now striking on the hour and keeping perfect time as it has done for the previous 200 years.