Dann’s Clock in Wisbech passed into care of town’s people at ceremony

Dann's Clock was passed into the care of the town's people.

Dann's Clock was passed into the care of the town's people. - Credit: Archant

An historic clock that was taken down to be auctioned three years ago has been passed into the care of the town’s people.

Dann's Clock

Dann's Clock - Credit: Archant

Dann’s Clock was a popular feature of everyday life on Bridge Street before its removal in 2012, when it was set for auction.

There was a public outcry when it was taken down leading to the Wisbech Society and the town’s Rotary Club launching an appeal to restore the clock to its place above the offices of what is now WH Brown estate agents.

The clock was returned to its spot in February. Now, Wisbech Society and Rotary Club of Wisbech have passed the historic Dann’s Clock into the care of the town’s people.

In a ceremony on Wednesday, Wisbech Mayor Councillor Michael Hill received the crank handle that winds the clock mechanism from Richard Barnwell, of Wisbech Rotary Club, and the chairman of Wisbech Society, Ray Johnson.

Wisbech Society unveils its 75th anniversary bench in the gardens of St Peter & St Paul church. Left

Wisbech Society unveils its 75th anniversary bench in the gardens of St Peter & St Paul church. Left: Bridget Holmes, chairman of the Friends of St Peter's gardens. Mayor Michael Hill and Mayoress Jane Hill.Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

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In front of councillors, rotary members, Wisbech Society trustees and invited donors, Mr Barnwell delivered a history of James Dann, the clock’s maker. He erected the illuminated clock in the 1860s as a public service, at a time when many people could not afford watches.

The clock was removed by the former owner of the building and sold in a Bonhams’ auction in London, only to resurface when the clock’s new owner, William Bruce, a clock dealer in Lewes, upon discovering the true nature of its removal from its historic home, offered to return the clock at cost.

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Barnwell and then president of Wisbech Rotary Club, Jon Martin, recovered the clock from Lewes and delivered it to Geoff Armitage, a clock restorer of Husbands-Bosworth, Leicestershire.

With the clock restored, Turner Contracting Limited donated its time and resources to refit the clock’s heavy cast iron arms and drum to the building.

Mr Johnson said: ‘This shows the clock was not merely a timepiece, but an important part of Wisbech’s cultural heritage.

“Its return is a significant step in restoring our town to its former glory.”

A public appeal to help pay for the clock’s purchase and restoration has already raised £2,000,

Mr Johnson paid tribute to members of the public and local businesses who have contributed to the appeal, including Coakley opticians and Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar LLP, whose premises overlook the clock.

Earlier on in the day, dignitaries gathered to unveil a bench in St Peter and St Paul’s Church which marks the 75th anniversary of the Wisbech Society.

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