Housekeeping Training Blog Post No. 5
Ticking, chiming, whirring, striking, winding – there is something about having the sound of clocks in a National Trust property which really brings it to life and creates atmosphere.
The clocks session on the conservation course we attended was brilliant – it succintly informed us how to care for, clean, wind, monitor, and move both small carriage clocks and grandiose longcase clocks. Clocks are difficult objects to work with because they are in continual use, which means that they are subjcet to continual wear and tear. It is important never to leave clock doors open or the winding keys in locks, as curious visitors may open doors and fiddle with the hands, possibly snapping the winding key too if it is very delicate.
Here’s a quick snippet of what we learnt:
At Nostell Priory we a very important clock. It’s a longcase clock which was made by John Harrison in 1717. John Harrison was born in 1693, the son of Nostell Priory’s estate carpenter. He was christened nearby at Wragby church. Harrison’s clock is extremely rare as all of the workings are made of wood. The movement, frame and wheels are oak, the pendulum is mahogany and the pinions are boxwood. Nostell’s clock is one of only three early longcase clocks made by Harrison which survive.
In 2011 a senior specialist in horology from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich came to do some routine maintenance on Nostell’s John Harrison clock. (If you click on any of the photos below, they will direct you to our Flickr photo website, where there are many more photographs of the wonderful intricacies of the John Harrison clock as it was being taken apart and examined).
Time is ticking on, and so I shall end this blog post and begin on the new one. We have many more posts for you to look forward to, including ones about the care of metalwork and stonework in historic houses. Hope to see you again soon!