Historic clocks and watches in Spalding museum

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A regular column by Spalding Gentlemen’s Society’s Dr Patricia Buck.

When you enter Spalding Gentlemen’s Society’s museum in Broad Street you are almost immediately faced by the story told by the handsome ‘Tidal Clock’ – tales of times gone by.

You cannot help but notice other very handsome clocks and time pieces around the room.

As you move on through the museum you will see all manner of clocks and watches, each with its tale to tell.

For me, however, the most enchanting tale of past lives is told by some otherwise unremarkable pocket watches (Hunters and the like).

I noticed the paper label declaring that the pieces had been repaired by ‘Rippin, Holbeach’ and I wondered who this might be.

Some time between 1810 and 1815 a young man named William Rippin opened a watch and clock repair shop in Holbeach.

According to a charming letter, written by his daughter to the London Standard in 1887, it was three or four years after opening his business that William was stricken by an illness that led to his becoming totally blind by the time he was just 28 years old.

Undeterred, William Rippin continued to clean and repair clocks and watches to a very high standard until his death in 1857.

His wife, apparently, did unpin and pin fine hair springs in watches as this was impossible for a blind man to do, but otherwise William was a diligent and skilled craftsman at his trade.

Rippin’s daughter, who lived in The Crescent in Spalding, made it clear in her letter that she was unreservedly proud of her father’s accomplishments.

You can come along and look at these markers of time and history. Our next two open days will be on Sunday, October 9 and then Sunday, November 20, with doors opening at 2.30pm for an informal, guided tour.