Previous News - A Whitstable antique returns home


Back in 1919 Fred Appleton and his wife took over The Bear and Key Hotel in Whitstable High Street. He and his wife, Kate, ran the hotel until Fred died in 1949 when the hotel was sold. But one antique souvenir of 'The Bear' was retained by his family, the Tavern Clock that had hung in the hotel for very many years. It quite possibly dates from the early 1800s.

During the Second World War a bomb exploded nearby and caused the clock to fall off the wall. But some really sympathetic restoration by a London clock maker in the 1950s, in premises that would not have looked out of place a Dickens novel, gave the clock a new lease of life.

The clock continued to be cared by Mollie Cullingham, Fred Appleton's younger daughter, who was now living in Windsor with her husband. The clock lived there in the hallway for almost 60 years until Molly died in 2010. Her son has now decided that the clock should return home so it will be auctioned at The Canterbury Auction Galleries during their Spring Auction on 3rd-4th April.

The clock is in excellent working order with one particularly fascinating feature. The large weight which drives the clock has a very old hand-made nail embedded in the top of the lead weight. It seems that anything was acceptable when it came to making up the required weight to ensure the clock ran smoothly!

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