Historic clock restored to former glory 

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month.

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month. - Credit: Alpha RAT

A long-running initiative to repair a parish church clock has finally come to fruition after years of fundraising efforts and restoration work.  

Faces of the clock at St Peter’s Church in Portishead have been repaired, restored and regilded in time for the Storyboat 700+ celebrations, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the place of worship this month.

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month.

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month. - Credit: Alpha RAT

The parish clock was built in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and the faces of the clock were taken down for restoration work in May 2019, after the effect of years of pollution from power stations and the rest of Portishead’s industrial past could be seen. 

MORE: Thousands sought to repair historic Portishead clock

Now, after a ‘long and difficult process’ involving repairing the ancient soldered joints, as well as devising a way to securely fix the numbers to the dials, the clock has been placed back in its pride of place on the 15th-century tower, much to the delight of the local community.  

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month.

Abseilers installing the church tower clocks in Portishead this month. - Credit: Alpha RAT

Paul Jeffery, church warden and one of the leaders of the fundraising team, said: “The clock is nearly 120 years’ old and, sadly, it was in desperate need of repair. All of the numbers had blackened and fallen off, so we started our fundraising effort to have the clock restored, which it now is with gold leaf.  

“We raised around £12,000 for the project and came across difficulties along the way, and Covid restrictions stopped any work happening for a while. 

“The parish church clock means a great deal to many in Portishead. Dorothy Lane attended many church meetings and she wanted to see the clock restored. That sparked a fundraising campaign, and we hosted coffee and cake fundraisers and much more to collect money for the project.

Paul Jeffery and Sandy Tebbutt outside St Peter's Church in Portishead.

Paul Jeffery and the late Sandy Tebbutt outside St Peter's Church in Portishead in 2017. - Credit: Archant

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"We received donations from Portishead Town Council worth £1,000, as well as the Gordano Civic Society through the sadly-missed Sandy Tebbutt worth the same amount, as well as other local organisations and the generosity of individuals."

Paul added that, sadly, Dorothy died before she saw the clock restored.

The clock was returned to the church tower on June 15-16 by Bristol-based industrial abseiling contractor Alpha RAT by a team of abseilers.

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