Sarah has been working at the museum since October 2015. Here she would like to share with you her favourite item in the museum (at the moment): The Samuel Barrow Long Case Clock.
It is really difficult to choose one item from all the lovely things on display, but there is one that I have more physical connection with, so I am going to say my favourite (at the moment) is the long case clock – because I get to wind it up. Only the staff are allowed to go inside and interact with this item, which always feels a little bit special.
When I notice the weights are hanging low, I retrieve the winding handle, open the case and get ready to wind. The winding handle is quite heavy in my hand, made of metal with a lovely worn wooden handle from years of use. I open the cabinet of the clock face, insert the handle and wind. It makes a lovely clicking sound as the handle winds around, and produces a little resistance against my attempts, as though I am resuscitating it, and it is taking a little effort from me each time. This time gives me the opportunity to admire the clock face, full of cherubs, and the lovely ornate hands. If the clock has stopped I have to push them around the right time, then with the weights wound to the top, the hands in the right place I knock the pendulum to remind it to tick, then sit back and enjoy. It is a lovely quiet tick that is not at all distracting, but the best thing of all with this clock is the chimes. After each hour of really surprisingly quiet ticks, the beautiful sound cheers me each time it tells us the hour has passed.
The decorative marquetry on the case and the cherubs on the face can be admired by every visitor. The clock work workings inside can be seen through the glass at the side, and the weights just about show though the bubbly glass on the front as they drop. The near-silent ticking and the beautiful chimes can be enjoyed by everyone in the building, if they listen hard enough, but it is unusual to be able to touch and interact with an item on display in a museum, and I feel privileged to do so.
The Samuel Barrow long case clock can be viewed on permanent display in our 18th century room.