Dann’s Clock found in Wisbech building
An unusual clock created by James Dann has been found hidden behind decades of paint at a Wisbech building.
Volunteers who are working hard to restore the Wisbech Institute were “flabbergasted” to find the clock, which had been produced by one of the town’s most famous residents.
One of the building’s directors, Ray Wicks, was clearing out a room, previously used for table tennis, when he removed a strange dome, which had been covered in paint, from the wall.
But after painstaking work to remove the emulsion retired engineer and horologist Roy Norman discovered that the dome was in fact the face of a slave clock produced by Mr Dann during the 1800s.
Mr Dann, a well-known Wisbech clockmaker and watch repairer, had built the clock in St Peter and St Paul’s Church along with the carillion at the Institute.
Mr Wicks said: “We had initially thought it was something they had used for scoring as it was in the table tennis room.
“I took the dome back to the shop to show Roy as there were gears on the back.
“I was flabbergasted when he came back with it. It was amazing he had managed to get all of the paint off.
“He said there were three coats of emulsion on the clock face and it came off without doing too much damage to the clock face.”
Unfortunately the clock cannot be returned to its full former glory as the timepiece which powered it is no longer there.
But the clock will be added to the Institute’s history room, which features displays of the building’s crockery and much more.
Mr Norman has been carefully restoring the Institute’s main clock, which is now chiming once more thanks to his efforts.
The Institute, which is believed to be only one of two of its kind in the country, was created 150 years ago and gifted to the town by Jonathan Peckover.
Directors, with help from the Friends of Wisbech Institute, are restoring the building and are hoping to become a registered charity.