We are shortly going to replace the stable clock over what is now the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts.
The original clock was installed in 1779 in the newly built stables of the fifth Earl Ferrers. The maker was John Whitehurst of Derby, a famous engineer and friend of the Earl. Italian prisoners, billeted in the next room during the Second World War, destroyed part of the mechanism. What remained was bought by Leicester Museum at a furniture sale in 1949. It is now in store there.
The clock face was still in place when our family bought the stables in 1955. It was made of copper sheet on oak boards and fell down about five years later. Now our craftspeople at the Ferrers Centre have made and gilded a new five foot diameter dial. An electric movement and clock hands have been commissioned from Time Assured, a Mansfield company who also maintain the church clock. Thirty feet up on the face of what is now the Ferrers Gallery, we will need scaffolding to do the work.
When we bought the stables sixty years ago they were in a sorry state, the roofs collapsing and the courtyard knee high in weeds. Over the years, the building has been brought back to life, and this piece of the jigsaw will be a finishing touch in a long process.