Clock is ticking once more in Wisbech Institute

Rod Bullen  presents �260 to Chairman of Friends of Wisbech institute John Smith 01945 588502 and Karine Greentree
Rod Bullen presents �260 to Chairman of Friends of Wisbech institute John Smith 01945 588502 and Karine Greentree

A historic clock is once again striking as work to return a Wisbech building back to its former glory progresses.

Volunteers who have been working hard to restore Wisbech Institute are over the moon to have the building’s clock running again.

Retired engineer and horologist Roy Norman estimates the clock has not been working for three years.

But after weeks of intricate work to repair a broken tooth by Mr Norman, with help from Graham Carter, the clock is striking once more.

Mr Norman will be giving a talk on the clock, which dates from the 1890s, and others in Wisbech in the Institute on Friday, October 10.

The talk will be raising money for the ongoing work to restore the institute and bring it back into community use.

He said: “The clock was in a poor state and had a broken tooth on one of the wheels.

“We have now got it running and striking but it just needs some final adjustments.

“It has been enjoyable to work on the clock. The next step will be to investigate the quarter chiming.

“The bells are being restored by the tower captain of St Peter and St Paul’s Church.”

The institute, which is believed to be only one of two of its kind in the country, was constructed 150 years ago and gifted to the town by Jonathan Peckover.

Directors, with help from the Friends of Wisbech Institute, have now taken on the challenge of restoring the building and are hoping to become a registered charity.

Renovation work began in earnest last year when the institute’s ballroom, which is said to have the best sprung floor in Cambridgshire, was completely redecorated.

Director, John Groom, said: “This is a very pleasing building. I have been in the construction trade for many years and we cannot let this building go.

“The restoration work is beginning to make a difference.”

Another director, Ray Wicks, said: “We are working to make it more attractive and usable as a community resource.”

Tickets for Mr Norman’s talk are £5, available from Etcetera.

n Fundraising has been boosted by a £260 cheque presented to the Friends of Wisbech Institute by Rod Bullen.

Mr Bullen had asked friends, family and staff to donate money instead of presents for his recent birthday.

Chairman of the Friends, John Smith, has thanked Mr Bullen.