Updated clock for Lurgashall church

Derek Coombes holds the dial after its removal from the tower. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE
Derek Coombes holds the dial after its removal from the tower. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

THANKS to the generosity of one of its parishioners, Lurgashall is celebrating a new clock movement at its church.

In memory of his wife Sarah, Edgar Jones kindly supplied a new clock with Westminster chimes.

Mr Jones also arranged for three existing bells in the tower to be recast and tuned to be part of an octave range of bells.

The clock movement was installed in 1935 and there was some difficultly in fitting a clock of this nature in such a small church.

At one point, the chimes were not working because no-one had gone into that part of the tower which housed the bells, in order to carry out essential maintenance on the bell hammers and crank levers.

This resulted in all parts seizing up.

However, funds were provided for fitting automatic winding to the chiming and striking trains and work was carried out by the late John Vernon.

More recently, parishioners noticed the timekeeping of the clock had become erratic.

Following a careful examination of parts, it became evident there was trouble with the dial.

The three-foot copper dial was provided with 12 fixing holes, accommodating bronze screws which fitted into wooden plugs in the stonework of the tower.

In the 77 years since these were secured, the wooden plugs have rotted away and only two remain in position.

These were so loose that the dial would move in bad weather.

In addition to its problems, the original blue background of the dial had faded badly, so the decision was taken to remove the dial for repainting and gilding and to replace the wooden plugs with modern plastic ones.

The re-painting of the dial was carried out by Barbara Thomas of Haslemere, who has a great deal of experience with dials of all kinds and carried out the dial-work on clocks brought in for repair at West Dean College.

Rather than hire scaffolding, parishioners decided instead to utilise a cherry picker for one day to remove the hands and dial.

The work on the bells was carried out by Mears and Stainbank.