The four dials of Bexhill’s landmark West Station Clock have not kept regular time since the station staff worked their last shift in 1964. But a team of volunteers from Bexhill Heritage – the town’s new conservation charity – aim to get the clock ticking again on Sussex Day – June 16th.
“We found the clock’s mechanism in remarkably good condition”, says Simon Allen who has been organising the project. “We’ve needed to make just three replacement parts but, after over fifty years of neglect, there’s been a huge amount of cleaning, oiling and adjusting to be done.”
The Bexhill Heritage team found one major surprise waiting for them in the clock tower. The railway clock winders staff who gingerly climbed the ladders and crawled through the roof space signed their names on planks inside the dome. Simon Allen takes up the story, “Many of the signatures are remarkably clear and most are dated. We intend to create a database from this wonderful historical record. Perhaps names will be recognised by children or grandchildren. Some of the younger clock winders may still be alive and living in Bexhill – we hope they’ll get in touch to be guests of honour at our Sussex Day party on June 16th.”
Bexhill Heritage has also provided the town’s public with the chance to support the restoration through three different levels of sponsorship starting at £12 (Bronze) for ‘giving a minute’ through £25 (Silver) to support one of the eight hands and culminating in £100 (Gold) for supporting on of the four dials. All sponsors will have their generous donations commemorated in a special display at Tea Beside the Tracks in West Station. Anyone interested in sponsorship can sign up by dropping in to Tea Beside the Tracks or the Wickham Bistro, or by visiting Bexhill Heritage’s website bexhillheritage.org.uk.
The clock is due to be restarted at 3pm on Sussex Day, June 16th. Everyone is welcome to join the party at West Station where Bexhill’s Mayor will be in attendance.
Published on Friday 13th April 2018 by the Bexhill Observer, page 43.