154 years after its initial installation, an Edward Funnell three train turret clock has been fully restored and reinstated at Hanningtons Estate in Brighton.
The clock was commissioned and installed in 1865 when The Whigs were in power, Queen Victoria was on the throne, America was in the midst of a Civil War and quite fittingly Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was inspired by the writer’s visits to Brighton, was first published.
The clock mechanism had been sold off at auction, when the much loved Hanningtons department store closed its doors for the last time in 2001. It was restored by William F. Bruce of Lewes, but lay undiscovered for many years, until Redevco came across it in 2017.
Andrew Foulds, Portfolio Director at Redevco, owner of the redeveloped Hanningtons Estate comments, “A colleague of mine just stumbled upon the shop and clock one day, shortly after we acquired the former department store. It was an exciting find and ever since we have been determined to mark its place in history, by finding a new home for it within the recently completed Hanningtons Lane.
“It now has pride of place in the window of one of our new shop fronts with an information plaque, explaining its significance to clock enthusiasts and the general public alike. Thanks must go to Bill Bruce for having the foresight to rescue the clock and painstakingly restore it.”
The well-known clockmaker Edward Funnell supplied the three train turret clock mechanism, with its ‘dead-beat’ escapement for accurate time keeping. Additionally it was fitted with both hour and quarter-hour bell chimes, with all three trains powered by three 90-160 lb weight stacks dropping three storeys into a void below. These trains required weekly manual rewinding.
These days the rewinding of the weight is performed by an auto-wind motor, engineered by turret clock specialists Gillett & Johnston of Edenbridge.
Andrew Foulds adds, “We are sure the public will welcome the clock’s return with the same enthusiasm they have greeted the new Lane. We have been overwhelmed by positive feedback to the design of the new stores and those brands that have made themselves at home here including Hotel Chocolat, Watches of Switzerland, The Flint House, Brass Monkey, Habitat, Oliver Bonas and Humpit Hummus. There are some exciting pop ups and further new stores planned and work started on another large scale art project this week.”
KLM Retail and GCW advise Redevco. Morgan Carn is the architectural advisor on the project and has overseen the clock’s reinstatement.