There’s something very comforting for residents and visitors to England’s towns and villages to hear the church bells chiming the hours and quarters. Westerham has enjoyed the current chimes since 1883 when the current clock was installed, and it probably had a predecessor. Until about 50 years ago the clock was entirely mechanical, requiring the daily winding of huge weights which then gradually fell the entire height of the tower to power the clock. About 50 years ago, electric motors were installed to wind up the clock, with the weights now falling quite short distances, and the winding motors controlled by then modern technology.
Unfortunately, that control system has broken and cannot be repaired with like – it involves mercury switches no longer used. The good news is that Smith of Derby who maintain our clock are on the case, and it is hoped that we will have the chimes restored before the Autumn. The bad news is that the cost or replacing motors and controls will be almost £10,000.
If you feel moved to support the repair of the clock, so integral to the nature of the town, please send donations to St Mary’s Westerham Heritage Trust at St Mary’s Church, The Green Westerham TN16 1AS. The Trust works tirelessly to support the maintenance of the building which, at almost 800 years old, requires lots of loving care.