Swaffham town clock silenced by wait for replacement part

Swaffham's town clock has been silenced while the council negotiates the cost of a replacement piece of equipment from a Derby clockmaker.

An annual service of the clock in the tower of St Peter and St Paul Church last month resulted in a part needing repair, stopping the chime from sounding every 15 minutes.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said: 'The age of the clock means that the part is not something that is available off the shelf – it has to be manufactured to fit. Once this is in place the clock will have its chimes back again.'

The town council is currently discussing the cost of the new part with the historic clockmakers Smiths of Derby, which has been helping keep time around the world, including in St Paul's Cathederal and Customs House in Shanghai, for five generations.

Swaffham town councillor Matt Edwards said a number of residents had asked him why the clock had fallen silent.

He said: 'It is important to have the bells ringing. It's always great to hear a bell tower chime – it's also important from a historical point of view.

'I have been and had a look at that clock and I have never seen a more beautiful piece of engineering – it's amazing.

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'When they are ringing they give a lovely addition to the ambient sounds of the town, especially during the markets and early summer mornings. I for one will be looking forward to having them back.'

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