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Time is ticking on a £15,000 a-peal to restore clock and bells at Wentworth Woodhouse

By February 6, 2024No Comments
A black and white photograph of a collection of young ladies in short flared dressed performing a dance on the lawns of Wentworth Woodhouse. The building can be seen behind them.

The clock and bells on Wentworth Woodhouse’s grand East Front have stood silent for over 60 years – but a new fundraising a-peal could get them chiming again.

Supporters are being asked to back the Just In Time crowdfunding campaign, which aims to get the North Tower’s two historic clocks and set of bells back to working order.

There is a time limit, though… The Preservation Trust has just eight weeks to raise the £15,000 needed so it can commence the project by the summer –  or it loses a £2,000 donation pledged by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

The North Tower, which was restored in 2021, has two clock faces and a set of bells, which last chimed over 60 years ago when students of Lady Mabel College were in residence.

The bells rang out on the hour, sending girls scurrying to lessons.

“The clock and bells are important historical features of Wentworth Woodhouse’s facade and once they are working again they will be a clear sign to visitors that our restoration of the house is well underway,” said the Trust’s fundraising manager Carole Foster, who joined the team in November.

“The metaphorical clock is ticking, though,” added Carole. “We need to raise the £15,000 we need by Friday 29th March. It would be such a shame to lose the funding we’ve very kindly been pledged by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers – and the fact is, if we leave the clock and bells much longer, we could lose them forever.”

The North Tower, which sits at one end of the Palladian front, underwent an extensive restoration in 2021.

Roof, stonework, cornices and guttering repairs transformed the structure and conservationists restored the two clock faces plus the golden weather vane on the tower’s roof.

A Barnsley clock restorer worked unpaid to get the clock mechanisms going again, but the result was temporary and further restoration work was prevented by a dangerously unsafe floor in the room housing the clock mechanism.

The £15,000 budget will cover repairs to the room and a beam which sits beneath the clock, so a specialist can work safely, repairing the dial motion workings, fitting new weight lines to the pendulum and re-connecting the chiming hammers.

There are two ways to support the Just In Time Appeal.

The Trust’s Fundraising Team ( is on hand to work with supporters wanting to organise a fundraising event, and people can simply donate via the Wentworth Woodhouse website at .

You can watch their fundraising video here.

A host of rewards are lined up as a thank you to supporters of the appeal –  including  postcards and signed limited edition prints of the North Tower, painted plant pots, tote bags  by designer Julia Gash and a private conservation tour of the house.

Image: Lady Mabel College students practise a dance routine on the East Front lawns, with the North Tower in the background. Credit:  Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust Lady Mabel College Archive

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